Trump Teases ‘Good News’ Coming on Aid Deal

Posted on 12/27/2020 5:55 PM

Lawmakers await fate of aid/spending package deal

 


Washington Focus


 

 

     Government funding will run out at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday. Lawmakers could potentially approve another stopgap funding bill to keep the government running.

 

     Lawmakers are set to return to Washington early this week (House on Monday, Senate on Tuesday) to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a $740.5 billion defense-policy bill. The House plans to vote to override Trump’s veto Monday, with the Senate following suit on Tuesday. It would be the first time Congress overrules Trump. In his veto of the defense bill, Trump has called for a rollback of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The president has argued that social-media giants like Facebook and Twitter are using that section of the law to suppress conservative voices on their platforms. The social-media sites routinely flag the president’s posts as unsubstantiated when he disputes the results of the election.

 

     The House will also hold a roll-call vote on a bill (HR 9047) to increase the amount of checks in the aid bill to $2,000 rom $600. The measure, called the Cash Act, was introduced by Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass). It will likely pass the House, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn’t said whether it will get a vote in the Senate, where it would face GOP opposition.      

 

     The president hasn’t yet said whether he will veto the 5,593-page combined Covid aid/fiscal year 2021 spending bill, which passed the House and the Senate with enough support to override a veto. Trump largely stayed out of the negotiations and his opposition caught many lawmakers, including members of his own party, by surprise. After Congress passed the bill, Trump posted a video on Twitter announcing his objections to it, claiming the stimulus payments in the legislation were too small and that foreign aid was too excessive.

 

     Lawmakers urge Trump action. On Sunday, the bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers who negotiated the coronavirus relief deal urged Trump to either sign or veto the bill so that Congress still had time to act before the end of the session. “If your objection to the Covid-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately,” the 11 lawmakers said in a statement. “You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late.”

 

     Trump on Sunday tweeted, "Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!" without providing additional details.

 

     Now what? The president generally has 10 days to veto legislation, or it becomes law. However, in this case, the session of Congress ends on Jan. 3, before the 10-day period is up, which would cause the bill to expire and not become law if the president doesn’t sign it.

 

     President Trump risks being remembered for creating “chaos and misery” at the end of his term if he vetoes the nearly $900 billion stimulus passed by Congress and triggers a government shutdown, retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said. “I understand he wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire,” Toomey said. “The best thing to do is sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation.”

 

     Trump hasn’t said explicitly that he’ll veto the measure, which Toomey said he viewed as a hopeful sign. The legislation has been delivered to Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

 

     Even if the legislation becomes law before the end of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, the delay will have guaranteed a temporary lapse in unemployment benefits because states will not be allowed to restart benefits until the first week of January — more than 14 million people are losing unemployment benefits. The delay has also effectively reduced the scope of the extension and expansions in the relief bill because they are still scheduled to end in mid-March. A provision in the bill adding $300 a week to unemployment benefits would now last for 10 weeks, instead of the intended 11. Failing to sign the bill into law would also freeze new money for vaccine distribution, small business aid, the ag sector, the ailing airline industry, and school aid, among other things. Small businesses were supposed to see a lift through $284 billion for first and second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans, and $20 billion for targeted grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program. As many as 17 million households are behind on their rent and may face the immediate threat of eviction starting Jan. 1. The package also includes $25 billion to help renters pay back their bills and other costs, including their electricity and water payments, amid growing concerns that Americans are falling far behind on their bills.

 

    Some Republicans have expressed concern that the president’s move could hurt the party’s prospects in the George Senate runoff races on Jan. 5. If Republicans lose those two seats, Democrats would control the chamber. President Trump will travel to Georgia on Jan. 4 for a political rally in support of incumbent Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, one day before the runoff election in the state that could determine control of the U.S. Senate. Trump announced on Twitter that he would be holding the event. It will mark the president’s second trip to Georgia over the past month. He held a rally in the state on Dec. 5. The runoff pits the Republican senators against Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

 

 


Economic Reports for the Week


 

The last week of the year will be quiet on the economic data front, with major financial markets closed on Friday for New Year’s Day.

 

Monday, Dec. 28
     • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for December. Consensus estimate is for an 11 reading, similar to the November figure. The index has rebounded sharply from a record low set in April and stands at its highest since late 2018.


Tuesday, Dec. 29
     • S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index for October. Economists forecast a 7% year-over-year increase, matching the September data. That figure is the highest for the index since May of 2014, as the housing market continues to be a bright spot for the economy.

Wednesday, Dec. 30
     • MBA Mortgage Applications
     • Institute for Supply Management Chicago Purchasing Manager Index for December. Expectations are for a 56.8 reading, a decrease from November’s 58.2.
     • National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index for November. Expectations are for a flat reading, month over month. The index fell by 1% in September and October after posting strong gains in the summer. The index currently stands just below its all-time peak set earlier this August.
     • Census Bureau international trade balance in goods for November. It’s expected to come in at about an $80 billion deficit, similar to the past four months. The trade deficit in goods hit a record monthly high of $83.9 billion in August.
     • Mortgage Bankers Association Market Composite Index, which tracks mortgage-loan application volume, for the week ending on Dec. 25. The index is up strongly year over year, as the 30-year fixed rate is a full percentage point lower than a year ago, at a recent 2.86%.

Thursday, Dec. 31
     • Department of Labor initial jobless claims for the week ending on Dec. 26. Jobless claims have increased in December, averaging 852,000 a week, as Covid-19 cases have spiked in parts of the country. Until December, claims had fallen every month since April, averaging 740,500 a week in November, down from the April peak of more than five million a week.  
     • Fed Balance Sheet
     • Money Supply

 


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events 


 

Major focus is on Brazilian weather rather than government reports.

 

Monday, Dec. 28
 

     Ag reports and events:

     • Export Inspections

     • Peanut Stocks
     • CFTC Commitments of Traders

 

Tuesday, Dec. 29
 

     Ag reports and events:

     • Livestock & Meat Domestic Data

     • Egg Products
 

     Energy reports and events:

     • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report
 

Wednesday, Dec. 30
 

     Ag reports and events:

     • Broiler Hatchery
     • Agricultural Prices

 

     Energy reports and events:

     • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report

     • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories
     • Baker Hughes weekly oil rig count, advanced from Friday due to New Year holiday

 

Thursday, Dec. 31
 

     Ag reports and events:

     • Weekly Export Sales

     • Peanut Prices  
 

     Energy reports and events:

     • EIA natural gas storage change
     • EIA Petroleum Supply Monthly report
     • Insights Global weekly report on European product inventories in ARA region

 

Friday, Jan. 1
 

     Ag reports and events:

     • Holiday: New Year’s day
     • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report to be published Jan. 4, instead of usual Friday release

 


 

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