Today on the Hill: Senate Adds Student Loan, Foreign Bank Provisions to Reg Bill; Trump to Announce Tariffs Excluding Canada, Mexico

An anticipated substitute amendment (attached) to a bipartisan bill (S. 2155) aimed at rolling back financial regulations was released last night, detailing new provisions on student-loan lending, identity fraud, and rules to ensure foreign banks do not escape domestic scrutiny. The changes are aimed at recruiting eventual approval from House Republicans, while ensuring that the 17 Democrats who voted in favor of the bill’s motion to proceed earlier this week maintain support for final passage. Deliberation is expected to continue on the Senate floor today and it is likely that the upper chamber will wrap up its consideration of the bill early next week.

Like yesterday, the House has only a single energy bill on its docket today. This measure (H.R. 1119) would reauthorize a waiver program for coal refuse energy plants to be exempted from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Most Democrats are expected to oppose the bill over environmental concerns, with the environmentalist group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) saying it would “permanently weaken air toxics standards for power plants burning waste coal.” Today’s vote on the measure is expected to be the last held by the lower chamber this week.

The White House has scheduled a 3:30 p.m. press conference, where President Trump is expected to announce the institution of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Over the past few days, White House officials have quietly softened their stance and suggested that Mexico, Canada, and other countries may be exempt from the tariffs, which are legally-based on national security concerns. It remains to be seen whether those moves will be enough to head off the start of a global trade war as affected countries are likely to take action against American exports.