Overnight Finance: Rubio to vote ‘no’ unless bill expands child tax credit | Senate absences could delay vote on tax bill | Trump touts deregulation | Labor board overrules joint-employer decision

Rubio to vote ‘no’ on tax bill unless child tax credit is expanded: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has threatened to vote against the Republican tax bill, putting the legislation in danger of being delayed past Christmas.

Rubio has told Senate leaders that he will vote against the bill unless the child tax credit is made more generous to help lower-income workers who pay payroll taxes and not regular income taxes.

“Sen. Rubio has consistently communicated to the Senate tax negotiators that his vote on final passage would depend on whether the refundability of the Child Tax Credit was increased in a meaningful way,” said a spokesperson for Rubio.

Rubio told reporters at the Capitol that the current tax credit is insufficient.

“Right now it’s only $1,100. It needs to be higher than that,” Rubio said.

 

“I understand that this is a process of give and take, especially when there’s only a couple of us fighting for it,” he told reporters. “Given all the other changes they’ve made in the tax code leading into it, I can’t in good conscience support it unless we are able to increase the refundable portion of it.”

If Rubio votes against the bill, Republicans can only lose one other lawmaker if they hope to pass the final bill that emerges from a House-Senate conference.

Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate-House conference, said negotiators are confident they’ll be able to bring Rubio back onboard.

“We’re still working with him and expect to satisfy his concerns,” Cornyn told reporters. http://bit.ly/2o7RBjm.

 

President Trump predicted Thursday that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will ultimately vote for the Republican tax plan.

“I think that Sen. Rubio will be there for sure,” Trump told reporters at the White House after a speech on deregulation.

The president called Rubio “a great guy” who has been “very supportive” of his agenda.

Jordan Fabian with the story: http://bit.ly/2AZrLB1

 

Timing of Senate tax vote uncertain due to absences: The absence of two GOP senators is also creating uncertainty about the timing of the chamber’s vote on tax legislation.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have both missed Senate votes this week, and one of their votes will likely be needed to pass the bill.

Republican leadership signaled on Thursday that the exact timing of the vote, and which chamber will move first, is now being hashed out.

“I don’t know the answer to that question. It’s all about timing and managing absences in the Senate. … We’re simply being flexible to honor their concerns about managing their schedule and some possible absences,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters.

The Senate was expected to move first on the tax deal, with an initial vote expected as soon as Monday. The upper chamber would then pass the measure and send it to the House on Tuesday for a final vote.

But Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on Thursday that there are ongoing discussions about which chamber will move first.  

“I think it’s just a matter of logistics,” Cornyn said, asked what was putting the timing into limbo.  http://bit.ly/2o4yg2v.

 

Trump touts deregulation by his administration: President Trump announced plans for more deregulation in the coming year with the release Thursday of the administration’s second regulatory agenda.

At a ceremony in the White House, Trump said the federal agencies beat the goal he set when he took office to cut two rules for every new rule proposed and add no new regulatory costs to the economy.

“Today I’m proud to announce we beat our goal by a lot,” he said. “Instead of adding costs as so many others have done … for the first time in decades, we achieved regulatory savings. Hasn’t happened in many decades. We blew our target out of the water.”

The administration withdrew or delayed 1,579 planned regulatory actions in 2017, according to the semi-annual Unified Regulatory and Deregulatory Agenda published by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Thursday afternoon. The regulatory agenda acts as a policy blueprint of sorts for federal agencies.

Trump said his administration has eliminated 22 regulations for every one that has been added.

“Instead of eliminating two old regulations for every one new regulation, we have eliminated 22; that’s a big difference,” Trump said. “We aimed for 2 for 1 and in 2017 we hit 22 for 1, and by the way, those regulations that are in place do the job better than all the other regulations and they allow us to build and create jobs and do what we have to do.”

Lydia Wheeler has the details: http://bit.ly/2C74Sek

 

Happy Thursday and welcome back to Overnight Finance. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

 

FCC votes to repeal net neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to repeal its landmark net neutrality protections, capping off a months-long campaign by the agency’s Republicans to deregulate the broadband industry.

The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines Thursday to scrap its 2015 Open Internet Order as Democratic lawmakers and dozens of activists protested outside.

Democrats, consumer groups and tech companies have been rallying for months to try to stop the repeal plan, arguing that the rules are essential for preventing companies like Comcast and Verizon from abusing their powers as internet gatekeepers.

“As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat on the commission who voted against the repeal.

“They will have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road,” Rosenworcel said.

Despite the outcry surrounding his repeal proposal, Pai was unwavering in his opposition to the 2015 rules. Since his time as a minority commissioner under the Obama administration, Pai has argued the FCC overstepped when it imposed the restrictions.

Harper Neidig on the vote and what’s next: http://bit.ly/2BoM8tT

 

NLRB overrules joint-employer decision on labor violations: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overruled a controversial Obama-era decision late Thursday that put employers potentially on the hook for labor law violations committed by their subcontractors.

In a 3-2 decision, the Republican controlled board overruled the board’s previous 2015 decision in a case, known as Browning-Ferris, which found a company to be considered a joint-employer with a subcontractor if it has “indirect” control over the terms and conditions of employment or has the “reserved authority to do so.”

In a statement, NLRB said in all future and pending cases two or more entities will be deemed joint employers under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if there is proof that one entity has exercised direct and immediate control over essential employment terms of another entity’s employees.

Republicans and business groups have long fought the ruling, claiming it blurred the lines of responsibility in disputes over working conditions, wages and work.

The House passed legislation last month offered by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) to reverse the ruling and permanently change the definition of an “employer” in the NLRA and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Lydia Wheeler explains here: http://bit.ly/2ytT8jz

 

Bill to ease Dodd-Frank rules gets chilly reception in House: Bipartisan legislation in the Senate to roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law is running into trouble in the House.

The Senate Banking Committee last week advanced a bill that would scale back Dodd-Frank rules for small and mid-sized banks.

Sponsored by Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the legislation has enough support among Democrats to avoid a filibuster. That’s largely because it focuses on scaling back federal oversight of banks without touching other portions of Dodd-Frank that Democrats are determined to protect.

But House Republicans pursuing a rival regulatory overhaul have given the bill a chilly reception, saying it doesn’t include the transformative changes needed for Dodd-Frank and the agency it created, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“There’s nothing good about the CFPB, and if they don’t touch the CFPB then it’s a non-starter,” said Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, of the Senate bill. I explain here: http://bit.ly/2Co4ysu.

 

Pence delays Israel trip over GOP tax bill: Vice President Pence will delay his trip to the Middle East as Congress prepares to vote on a major tax overhaul, his office said Thursday.

A Pence spokeswoman said the vice president plans to leave next week instead, so he can preside over the Senate during a vote on the tax bill.

“Yesterday, the White House informed Senate leadership that due to the historic nature of the vote in the Senate on tax cuts for millions of Americans, the vice president would stay to preside over the vote,” Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement.

Pence had been scheduled to leave Saturday for Israel amid renewed tensions in the region over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital. The vice president also plans to travel to Egypt.

During his visit, Farah said Pence will “reaffirm the United States’ commitment to its allies in the Middle East and to working cooperatively to defeat radicalism.”

His schedule, however, is expected to change after Palestinian leaders and Muslim and Christian clerics refused to meet with him due to Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. http://bit.ly/2ClcudP.

 

RNC launches new website to promote Trump tax bill: The Republican National Committee (RNC) is launching a webpage and six-figure ad campaign to aid President Trump and GOP leaders in their closing arguments for tax-reform legislation.

The webpage appears under the banner “Paycheck President,” and features a 90-second video of Trump pitching the Republican tax plan in a recent speech.

The page also provides contact information for Democratic senators, and encourages constituents in certain states to contact their representative.

“The media won’t tell you the overwhelming support of the President’s Tax Plan,” the page claims.

A recent poll found that while 72 percent of Republicans support the party’s tax-reform efforts, 64 percent of respondents overall oppose the bill.

The RNC’s webpage will be supplemented by a six-figure digital ad buy, ABC News reported: http://bit.ly/2ClmDr7.

 

Schumer: House funding bill a ‘waste of time’ Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday blasted House Republicans, saying they are wasting time by moving forward with a funding bill that would pair a full year of defense funding with a short-term fix for other programs.

“At this late hour it’s … an unfortunate waste of precious time. … House Republicans should have known not to waste everyone’s time with a partisan spending bill that could never pass the Senate,” Schumer said.

He added that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “is pursuing a dead-end strategy.”

House Republicans introduced legislation on Wednesday that would fund most of the government through mid-January and fund the Defense Department through the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

But Schumer warned that proposal is dead on arrival in the Senate, where 44 of the Democratic caucus’s 48 members have indicated they won’t support the proposal: http://bit.ly/2CmgzhR.

 

Senators push for funding bill to include money for sexual harassment training: Two female senators are urging Senate leadership to include funding for sexual harassment training in the upcoming short-term spending bill.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) sent a letter on Thursday to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asking that the provision be included in the government funding legislation.

“Given the urgency of this problem, we ask that any continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations bill provide additional funding to support updated and improved training for all legislative branch employees, including members and all staff working in the Capitol complex and state offices,” Collins and Murray wrote in the letter, which was also sent to Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the top two members on the Appropriations Committee.

The Senate passed a resolution last month making sexual harassment training mandatory. Murray and Collins noted that “sufficient funding” needs to be included so the Office of Compliance can implement the new rules.

Congress has to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government by Dec. 22 in order to prevent a shutdown: http://bit.ly/2Cmybu0.

 

House GOP to offer new disaster aid legislation as part of shutdown push: House Republicans are preparing to unveil federal assistance for communities affected by recent natural disasters as soon as Friday, a critical part of ensuring passage of a bill to avert a government shutdown next week.

Two members of the House Appropriations Committee said Thursday that they expect the supplemental disaster aid funding to be completed by Friday.

But a spokeswoman for the Appropriations Committee cautioned that decisions on timing and process have not been finalized yet. It’s possible the disaster aid could be attached to a short-term spending patch to keep the government open through Jan. 19, or it could be considered as a standalone measure.

“They’ll do it in a way that they think is most helpful,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior appropriator, said of GOP leaders’ strategy. “If it helps them get one of the larger packages through, [disaster aid] will be attached to one of the larger packages.”

If the supplemental funding request moves on its own, Cole predicted it would happen “early, mid-next week.”

“I think we won’t go home before it’s done,” he said. “We have a lot of members in the affected areas, and they need to go home with that problem solved.” http://bit.ly/2CmApcQ.

 

California sues DeVos over debt relief for defrauded students: The state of California is suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for refusing to process the debt relief claims of thousands of students who had federal student loans and were left in the lurch after the collapse of Corinthian College.

The 25-page complaint filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra(D) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday accuses DeVos of violating the Administrative Procedures Act by unlawfully delaying the approval of claims filed by defrauded students.

“What Secretary DeVos is doing is unconscionable,” Becerra said in a statement.

“After having their American Dreams stolen by a so-called higher education institution, Corinthian students are now being denied critical relief by a Secretary of Education hostile to their plight. It is hard to believe that we are forced to sue the Department of Education to compel Secretary DeVos to carry out the Department’s legal duty and help these students rebuild their lives,” he said.

The complaint said the department found that in 2015 some 80,000 student borrowers nationwide — including more than 38,000 in California — were fraudulently induced to enroll in educational programs offered by Corinthian, a now-defunct operator of predatory for-profit schools. 

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