On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war

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THE BIG DEAL–Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments: GOP senators on Thursday attempted to bring a House-passed retirement savings bill to the Senate floor with votes on a limited number of amendments, but the effort was rejected by Democrats.

The Republican effort and Democrats’ rejection highlighted how, despite widespread bipartisan support and backing from industry groups, it is still unclear when the retirement bill will be enacted. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda explains why. 

 

About the bill:

  • The House in May approved the bill, known as the SECURE Act, nearly unanimously. 
  • The bill includes a host of provisions aimed at making it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans and for people to save for retirement. 
  • It also reverses a provision in the 2017 Republican tax-cut law that inadvertently raised taxes on military survivor benefits paid to children.

 

There has also been bipartisan interest in the Senate in passing legislation to boost retirement savings. But several GOP senators have been preventing the House-passed bill from advancing in the Senate without a roll-call vote, seeking an opportunity for their amendments to be considered.

 

The GOP amendments that would have been considered under the agreement included: 

  • Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump’s ‘due process’ remark on guns MORE‘s (R-Pa.) amendment to fix an apparent drafting error in the GOP tax law that is hurting retailers, 
  • Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE‘s (R-Utah) amendment to remove a provision concerning the pensions of community newspapers, 
  • And Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments MORE‘s (R-Texas) amendment to allow 529 savings plans to be used for homeschooling expenses. The homeschooling provision had been in the initial version of the SECURE Act but was removed from the legislation before it received a House floor vote.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Stopgap funding bill may step up holiday battle to avert shutdown: A stopgap measure to prevent a government shutdown is likely to last only a few weeks, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyFormer AG Sessions enters Alabama Senate race On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war CR discussions veer toward December: Shelby MORE (R-Ala.).

The House and Senate have yet to agree on any of the 12 annual spending bills for the 2020 fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Trump’s 2016 team sounds alarm as Democrats make gains Whistleblower lawyer sends cease and desist to White House over Trump’s attacks MORE‘s proposed border wall is at the heart of the disagreements. The current continuing resolution expires Nov. 21, so lawmakers are scrambling to pass a stopgap bill to last into mid-December.

Shelby, who had previously floated a three- to four-month continuing resolution, or stopgap funding measure, said a December end-date was being discussed in meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer AG Sessions enters Alabama Senate race Kentucky sports radio host Matt Jones, potential McConnell challenger, taken off air following GOP complaint Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges MORE (R-Ky.).

He also said that he did not believe there was a serious chance of a shutdown happening, either in November or in December.

“I believe it’s zero,” he said. “I hope so.”

 

Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war: The hardwood industry is stepping up its pleas for the Trump administration to end the ongoing trade war with China.

Industry advocates say they have been hard hit by the retaliatory tariffs and are putting new pressure on lawmakers and administration officials.

Nathan Jeppson, CEO of Northwest Hardwoods, was in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, as well as lawmaker offices, to push for relief for his industry.

Since the start of the trade war, his company has closed two facilities, one in Virginia and one in Washington, decreased the shifts at other facilities, and had layoffs at the corporate level. In total, they’ve laid off 225 of their 1,600-person workforce.

“I don’t think people understood actually the job loss potential here and where these jobs are. You think about our industry, we are where the woods are so we are in rural Pennsylvania, rural West Virginia. I can’t even get cell coverage at most of our mills,” Jeppson said.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano explains why here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Wells Fargo has hired William Daley, former White House chief of staff to President Obama, to be its new head of public affairs as the bank struggles to free itself from unprecedented federal penalties.
  • General Motors has sold its Lordstown, Ohio, plant to electric truck manufacturer Lordstown Motors Corp. about six months after President Trump hailed the deal on Twitter, according to Bloomberg.
  • Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war GAO reviewing Trump hold on Ukraine military aid Democrats unveil proposal for ‘millionaires surtax’ MORE (D-Md.) on Thursday rolled out a proposal for a “millionaires surtax,” amid a growing interest from Democrats in increasing taxes on the wealthy.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • President Trump’s newly appointed chief technology officer on Thursday criticized Chinese surveillance and censorship in his first major international remarks, ramping up the Trump administration’s intensifying tech battle with China.

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