TenCount -> Avoiding a Dec. 8 government shutdown?
TenCount -> Avoiding a Dec. 8 government shutdown?
A highly selective view of events in the week ahead with important financial, legislative and political implications, put together by your friends at Sphere Consulting.
- Welcome to the home stretch! One month to go before 2017 is in the books and we’re on to 2018. But there’s plenty that (has to be? will be? might be?) happening in Washington in that month – budget, tax reform, Dreamers, and let’s not forget the Grinch, Robert Mueller. The Senate is back on Monday, while the House checks in Tuesday. Together, they are scheduled to be in session for just 12 days before yearend. Fast your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy month! (Apologies to Bette Davis.)
- President Trump will travel to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a meeting with congressional leaders aimed at settling on a strategy to avoid a Dec. 8 government shutdown. The Big Four – Ryan, McConnell, Pelosi, and Schumer – first must agree on a budget cap, which will set the stage for a spending bill that will cover either the remainder of the fiscal year (longshot) or up until sometime in early 2018 (more likely). That will leave Congress with a couple of weeks to finalize tax reform before the holiday break. Of course, it’s not like there are no obstacles there …
- Trump also will meet with the Senate Finance Committee on Monday and with Republican Senators at their weekly policy lunch on Tuesday to discuss the Senate’s tax reform bill and urge the majority to move the ball over the goal line. To do so, they’ll have to overcome the objections of deficit hawks, who worry that the tax plan will blow a hole in the deficit — something many tax analysts agree with, given that the plan is written assuming a host of popular tax cuts will expire in 2025. If Congress extends those cuts, as some have promised, that means ballooning future deficits.
- Meanwhile, Republicans in high-tax states are worried about how their constituents will react to the proposed repeal of the state and local tax deduction. Those and other issues are likely to be addressed on Tuesday when the American Enterprise Institute hosts a discussion with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. On Thursday, the Cato Institute looks at “Can Tax Cuts Spur Economic Growth?”
- A battle royale is brewing over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where dueling directors could try to take their seats on Monday following the departure last week of Richard Cordray, who has led the agency since its inception. After Cordray announced his leaving last week, the White House said Budget Director Mick Mulvaney would take over. That led to a lawsuit by Leandra English, whom Cordray appointed as deputy director and interim heir on his way out the door – despite a memo from the agency’s general counsel that the President had the right to his own appointment.
- Special Counsel Robert Mueller could spoil the Christmas plans of several people in Washington. Lawyers for Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor, notified the president’s legal team that they could no longer discuss the investigation, a sign that Flynn has decided to cooperate with prosecutors. Charges against Flynn could come as early as this week.
- The Supreme Court has a couple of major cases set for oral argument before the end of the year. Wednesday brings Carpenter v. US, which will decide whether the government violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure if it obtains a person’s cell phone location records without a warrant. And on Dec. 5, the Court will hear arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which hinges on whether a business can refuse service because of religious beliefs – in this case refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
- Opioids are again on the menu on Capitol Hill, as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform conducts a field hearing in Baltimore on Tuesdayon “Combating the Opioid Crisis,” and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday visits “The Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis: Perspectives from States, Communities and Providers.”
- Nomination hearings will be conducted this week for two prime positions. On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will consider the nomination of Jerome Powell to become Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, arguably the most powerful economic position in the country, if not the world. And on Wednesday, the Senate HELP Committee will consider the nomination of Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- And speaking of the Fed, Janet Yellen remains in the chairwoman’s seat until February, meaning she will be at the tiller if the financial markets suffer a late-2017 or early-2018 swoon. On Wednesday, the Joint Economic Committee meets to hear testimony from Chairwoman Yellen on “The Economic Outlook.”
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