On The Money: White House files notice of China tariff hikes | Dems cite NYT report in push for Trump tax returns | Trump hits Iran with new sanctions | Trump praises GM for selling shuttered Ohio factory | Ex-Im Bank back at full strength
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THE BIG DEAL–Trump says China trade talks are on, blames Dems for backtrack: President TrumpDonald John TrumpDOJ threatens executive privilege over Mueller report if Dems carry out contempt vote Trump touts ‘BIG FIREWORKS’ returning to Mt. Rushmore for July 4 Trump taps ex-State spokeswoman Heather Nauert to help oversee White House fellowships MORE on Wednesday said top Chinese officials will travel to the U.S. later this week to resume trade talks, even as he accused Beijing of holding out for a better deal under a future Democratic president.
In a pair of tweets, Trump said China “has just informed us” that Vice Premier Liu He and other negotiators “are now coming to the U.S. to make a deal.”
“We’ll see, but I am very happy with over $100 Billion a year in Tariffs filling U.S. coffers,” Trump wrote, referring to amount in import taxes paid on Chinese goods by Americans. “Great for U.S., not good for China!”
What happened: China announced Tuesday that Liu would attend the talks, breaking a days-long silence that raised doubts about whether the long-planned meetings would take place.
- China’s participation was uncertain after Trump on Sunday threatened to raise U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent.
- Reuters reported earlier Wednesday that China made sweeping edits to a proposed trade agreement that were sent to the U.S. late last Friday.
“The reason for the China pullback & attempted renegotiation of the Trade Deal is the sincere HOPE that they will be able to ‘negotiate’ with Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenObama’s post-White House memoir not expected to be published this year: report Before we can save liberalism, we must first know what it is Biden responds after woman at rally yells ‘you can hug and kiss me anytime’ MORE or one of the very weak Democrats, and thereby continue to ripoff the United States (($500 Billion a year)) for years to come,” Trump tweeted. “Guess what, that’s not going to happen.”
Trump’s message this morning serves a few different purposes: It bashes Joe Biden, the apparent front-runner to win the Democratic nomination in 2020. But it also seeks to assure a shaky stock market that there’s still a decent shot at a trade deal with China, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average sunk almost 2 percent, and even as Trump prepares to impose the tariffs.
The White House on Wednesday filed formal notice of President Trump’s increase to tariffs on Chinese imports amid a breakdown in trade negotiations.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) submitted an order raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports after Trump announced the increase Sunday morning.
And what does Beijing think? China’s Commerce Ministry reportedly said Wednesday that it will respond “in kind” if President Trump moves to increase tariffs on Chinese goods.
LEADING THE DAY
NY Senate passes bill allowing Congress to request Trump’s state tax returns: The New York Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that would allow Congress to obtain President Trump’s tax returns from the state.
The bill passed by a vote of 39-21. The measure now heads to the state Assembly, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has signaled he would sign the bill into law.
The state Senate also passed a bill, in a 39-22 vote, that would allow New York to prosecute people who received presidential pardons if certain conditions are met. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda fills us in here.
- The tax-returns legislation authorizes the New York commissioner of taxation and finance to provide state returns requested by the chairmen of Congress’s tax committees, so long as the requests have a legitimate legislative purpose and as long as Congress is also requesting related federal tax returns from the U.S. Treasury Department.
- The bill comes as House Democrats and the Trump administration are fighting over a request for Trump’s federal tax returns.
As the New York legislature attempts to bring Trump’s state returns to Congress, House Democrats are seizing on a bombshell scoop from the New York Times to bolster their case.
A New York Times article published Tuesday found President Trump reported more than $1 billion in business losses from 1985 to 1994.
Democrats are saying the report enhances the need for the Trump administration to comply with their request for Trump’s recent tax returns.
“It does tell us … that it would be useful to see his tax returns,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMcConnell: Dems have ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ amid Barr fight Republican senators give Pence an earful on trade Nadler says panel is still planning vote to hold Barr in contempt MORE (D-Calif.) said at a public interview Wednesday hosted by The Washington Post.
Pelosi noted that the statute under which Democrats requested Trump’s tax returns states that the Treasury secretary “shall” provide requested returns.
“It doesn’t say ‘may,’ ‘should,’ ‘could’ [or] ‘under certain circumstances,'” Pelosi said.
Trump reacts: The president hit back on The New York Times report as a “highly inaccurate Fake News hit job.”
Trump hits Iran with new sanctions amid standoff: The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed fresh sanctions targeting Tehran as both countries escalate their rhetoric over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The White House announced sanctions on the steel, iron, aluminum and copper sectors of the country hours after Iran said it would stop complying with certain parts of the Obama-era nuclear agreement.
President Trump’s executive order imposing new sanctions on Tehran also came on the one-year anniversary of his announcement that he would withdraw the U.S. from the nuclear deal.
The impact: The sanctions could affect other countries conducting trade with Iran, and Trump warned in a statement that the executive order “puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated.”
The administration has been increasing pressure on Iran over the last year since pulling out of the Obama-era deal, despite concerns from international allies.
Export-Import Bank back at full strength: The Senate on Wednesday voted to confirm three officials to the board of the Export-Import Bank, restoring the federal manufacturing subsidizer to full strength in a blow to its conservative critics.
Senators voted to confirm Kimberly Reed as president of the Ex-Im Bank and approved the nomination of former Rep. Spencer BachusSpencer Thomas BachusThis week: Fight brews over Mueller testimony Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles The key for EXIM’s future lies in accountability MORE (R-Ala.) and Judith DelZoppo Pryor to be members of the bank’s board of directors.
Sixteen Republicans voted against all three nominees.
Why it’s big: With three of Ex-Im’s five board positions filled, the bank can now meet the legally required quorum to approve transactions worth more than $10 million.
The confirmations of Reed, Bachus and Pryor is the latest swing in a four-year battle between a broad coalition of Ex-Im supporters and fiscally conservative critics over its existence.
The bank attracted little political fire until 2015, when a cadre of GOP lawmakers spurred by conservative groups successfully blocked a reauthorization of its charter.
I’ve got more on the confirmations here.
Trump hails GM’s sale of shuttered Ohio plant: President Trump said Wednesday that General Motors has agreed to sell its shuttered Lordstown, Ohio, plant to an electric truck manufacturer.
Trump tweeted that he spoke to GM CEO Mary Barra, who said the company will sell its Lordstown plant to Workhorse for electric truck production. The deal is pending approval by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
GM will spend another $700 million on three separate Ohio locations, creating 450 jobs, Trump said.
“I have been working nicely with GM to get this done,” he tweeted. “Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Trump pulls out rug from GOP on trade The Hill’s Morning Report – The heat turns up on Bill Barr MORE. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!” The Hill’s Brett Samuels has the full details here.
- In a statement roughly an hour after Trump’s tweets, GM confirmed it is in discussions with Workhorse to sell the Lordstown plant. The sale “has the potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant,” the automaker said.
- “We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone,” Barra said in a statement. “Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”
- Portman said in a pair of tweets shortly after Trump’s announcement that he was “optimistic” and thanked the president for his “help in bringing new production to #Lordstown.”
- Meanwhile, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanBiden takes 32-point lead over Sanders in new 2020 poll IRS says it’s reviewing concerns about ‘free file’ program Klobuchar is a worthy candidate, getting no attention MORE (D-Ohio), a 2020 contender whose district includes the plant, called GM’s plan to sell the plant “bittersweet.” “In the short term, for the workers there, it doesn’t look like it’s going to have any positive impact,” said the congressman in a call with reporters.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Tax-preparation companies are under mounting pressure over allegations that they hid free tax-filing services from customers.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell eyes end-of-month deadline as disaster aid hits new ‘obstacles’ McConnell: Dems have ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ amid Barr fight Dems want Justice IG to investigate Barr MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that he wants the Senate to pass a disaster recovery deal before the Memorial Day recess, even as the stalemated legislation appeared to be hitting new “obstacles.”
- A bipartisan group of 29 senators introduced legislation Wednesday to fix a tax glitch affecting children receiving benefits who have lost a parent serving in the military.
ODDS AND ENDS
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Hill’s Morning Report – Can Barr and House Dems avert contempt clash? The Memo: Pelosi’s ‘tone-deaf’ remarks raise ire of Team Trump Rick Scott says Ocasio-Cortez has embarrassed Congress ‘to the point of irrelevance’ MORE (D-N.Y.) is throwing her weight behind the Wednesday strike from Uber and Lyft drivers. And 2020 candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBefore we can save liberalism, we must first know what it is House Dems encouraging members to appear on Fox News Health care workers to picket outside Biden fundraiser MORE (I-Vt.) is too.
- Opinion contributor Liz Peek argues why “Trump will ‘hang tough’ on China, political fallout be damned.”