JT TAYLOR: CAPITAL BRIEF - JT   Potomac banner 2

WAIT FOR IT: Lawmakers are still trying to forge an agreement on the $1.3 T omnibus spending bill. Yes, this is the third day we’ve said they were close and we believe a deal will be struck by midday today. The list of 20 provisions causing the delay has been winnowed down to under 10 as negotiators continued late into the night. The recurring hang-ups are inching closer to resolution: the Gateway project is likely to advance under a different oversight structure and border security/wall funding is currently pegged at $1.6 B, but the grain cooperative glitch stemming from the tax rewrite has not been resolved and finding bipartisan consensus around the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in this highly-charged climate remains elusive.  When an agreement is in hand, both the House and Senate are planning to accelerate the pace at which they typically work, but a short-term stopgap bill may be needed late Friday into the weekend.

BREAKING CHINA: We’re watching for more signs to emerge out of today’s Cabinet meeting with President Trump as the Administration prepares to impose up to $60 billion in annual tariffs on Chinese goods, following through on a threat that he says will punish the country for intellectual property theft and create more American jobs. Trump said he plans to announce the tariffs by Friday and the package is said to be targeting over 100 Chinese products with a focus on the telecommunications and technology sectors as well as apparel, furniture, and toys - in addition to placing investment restrictions on Chinese companies. Administration officials are scrambling to finish the Chinese measure and have yet to finalize the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs announced by Trump two weeks ago.

MATTIS TO THE RESCUE: A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), failed in their effort to force President Trump to halt U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia and their bombing campaign in Yemen.  Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis very likely moved a few Senators over to the Administration’s camp at lunch yesterday and the Senate tabled the resolution by a vote of 55-44. The action comes as Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, whose country's military has received help from the U.S. in Yemen, is traveling in the U.S. and is meeting with the president and executives across the country in an effort to strengthen economic ties between the two nations. We don’t think this group of Senators will give up that easily and another effort is likely to emerge.

CFPB COMMISSION?: A bipartisan movement to replace the director of the CFPB with a panel consisting of five people is gaining some traction on Capitol Hill – at least on the House side. The setup is the same as with other commissions in Washington in that there would be five commissioners appointed by the president to varying terms and no more than three could be from the same party.  While the House may be energized over the momentum, the Senate is much less enthusiastic with a number of Democratic Senators prepared to thwart any effort that further diminishes the agency.

GUEST SPEAKER CALL ON MLP'S AND INCOME TAXES: Find the replay and takeaways here.

AT+T/TIME WARNER | TRIAL KICKS OFF FAVORABLY FOR AT+T (T, TWX): The court seems inclined to reject admissibility of some key FCC filings and other evidence backing DOJ's vertical foreclosure theories.  Read Paul Glenchur's latest from the court here.

WHITE HOUSE ISSUES BAN ON VENEZUELA PETRO-CURRENCY SCHEME | Joe McMonigle writes that oil sanctions are still on the table but paused due to Tillerson/Cohn departures.  His piece here.

CALL REPLAY | USH, ACHC AND AAC AND THE FEDERAL/STATE RESPONSE TO THE OPIOID CRISIS: Listen to our healthcare team discuss rapidly changing Federal and State payment policies and what they mean to AAC, ACHC and UHS.  Check it out here.

KIM, TRUMP AND A PEACE PRIZE: Read General Dan Christman's latest piece on the machinations surrounding North Korea here.

AT&T/TIME WARNER | KEY AREAS OF FOCUS (T,TWX): The DOJ challenge goes to trial this week. AT&T is still the favorite, but investors should focus on the government's core strategies. Read Paul Glenchur's latest here.

CALL REPLAY | ROLLING BACK DODD-FRANK: Last week, the Senate passed the bipartisan ECONOMIC GROWTH, REGULATORY RELIEF, AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (S. 2155) sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo by a vote of 67-31. The path to the measure becoming law is uncertain as negotiations with House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling have hit an impasse. We discussed the Senate deregulation bill, convergence with Hensarling's efforts and next steps.  CLICK HERE to listen to a replay of the call.