On The Money: Window opens for Senate to pass new NAFTA | Oil prices climb amid US-Iran tensions | IRS tax-filing season to begin Jan. 27
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THE BIG DEAL–Window opens for Senate passage of Trump’s NAFTA update: The Senate could vote as soon as this week to approve President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump offers Australian PM assistance in fighting widespread fires Trump administration officials begin drafting potential Iraq sanctions after Trump threat: report Pence to focus on US Iran policy in speech MORE‘s proposed revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), due in part to his former National Security Advisor John BoltonJohn BoltonRand Paul: Trump ‘got bad advice’ on killing of Soleimani Trump risks nuclear crisis in Iran Bolton shakes up impeachment debate MORE.
While the House passed the trade deal, called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBolton shakes up impeachment debate McConnell has the votes to block Democrats’ witness demands in Trump impeachment trial Murkowski: Decision on impeachment witnesses should wait until after start of trial MORE (R-Ky.) said the upper chamber couldn’t consider the agreement until Trump’s impeachment trial is finished.
But a Monday announcement from Bolton may have opened a window for the Senate to approve the deal before the chamber is forced to hold Trump’s impeachment trial.
Bolton said Monday that he would be willing to testify before the Senate about Trump’s decision to withhold aid from Ukraine if the chamber subpoenas him to appear during the president’s pending impeachment trial.
How it affects USMCA:
- House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFacebook to issue rules banning deepfakes: report Rand Paul: Trump ‘got bad advice’ on killing of Soleimani Bolton shakes up impeachment debate MORE (D-Calif.) has been reluctant to send articles of impeachment to the Senate until McConnell agrees to include witness testimony during Trump’s trial.
- The Senate can’t begin the impeachment trial until Pelosi sends over the articles, and the Senate must immediately begin considering the articles of impeachment once they get them.
- Until then, the Senate can consider whatever McConnell decides, including USMCA.
- Pelosi, citing Bolton’s announcement, said Monday that Republicans “must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves,” indicating she’s unlikely to send the articles over without those promises.
The key factor: If Bolton’s announcement convinces Pelosi to hold on to the articles of impeachment, it could give the Senate enough time to pass USMCA before it is forced to hold Trump’s impeachment trial
What comes next: The Senate Finance Committee will hold a “markup” of the bill to implement USMCA on Tuesday morning. Since lawmakers can’t actually amend the text of the agreement under “fast track” trade regulations, the markup will likely feature several hours of praise for the deal, griping from some conservatives, and an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote to send the USMCA bill to the Senate floor.
Once the Finance Committee clears the USMCA implementation bill, the full Senate could vote as soon as the end of this week to approve the agreement. Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro said Sunday that he expects the Senate to clear the deal by Friday, though things can change quickly in Trump’s Washington.
In case you missed it: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders unloads on Biden as battle for Iowa intensifies Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball warns Democrats from going with ‘safe choice’ Why Trump should fear Sanders much more than Warren in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.) said Friday that she supports USMCA, putting her at odds with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders unloads on Biden as battle for Iowa intensifies Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball warns Democrats from going with ‘safe choice’ Why Trump should fear Sanders much more than Warren in 2020 MORE (I-Vt.), her top progressive rival for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
LEADING THE DAY
Oil prices keep climbing amid US-Iran tensions: The global benchmark for crude oil rose above $70 a barrel on Monday for the first time in more than three months, The Associated Press reported Monday.
The Brent contract for oil reached a high of $70.74 a barrel, according to the AP, the highest price since mid-September, when it spiked briefly following an attack on Saudi crude processing facilities.
Brent crude was up $1.07 at $69.67 a barrel — a 6 percent increase since before Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed, according to the AP.
IRS announces tax-filing season start date of Jan. 27: The IRS announced Monday that it will start accepting and processing people’s tax returns for 2019 on Jan. 27.
The deadline for people to file their returns will be the traditional due date of April 15, the agency said.
The late-January start date for the filing season is similar to the start dates of the filing seasons in the previous two years. The IRS said it expects more than 150 million individual tax returns to be filed for the 2019 tax year.
The IRS said that it chose the Jan. 27 start date to ensure that its processing systems are ready and secure as well as to take into account recent tax legislation.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Politico: “Bank cop faces grassroots resistance on remake of anti-redlining law”
- ProPublica: “How Trump’s Trade War Is Making Lobbyists Rich And Slamming Small Businesses”
- The Washington Post: “Borden Dairy files for bankruptcy amid debt load, head winds facing milk producers”
- CNBC: “Defense stocks double the S&P 500′s return six months after Middle East turmoil, history shows”
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