FOMC statement at 2 PM, and Fed Chair Powell’s news conference at 2:30 PM. Those times have not changed despite the 3-hour delay today in opening the government. I will forward a transcript as soon as it becomes available.
President Trump’s schedule (EST):
11:30 AM Daily intelligence briefing.
“Trade Talks With China Open in Washington, as Obstacles Abound.” This morning’s New York Times article leads with:
Top officials from the United States and China will sit down in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday for two days of face-to-face trade talks that could prove critical to the trajectory of the world economy.
Negotiations to end a months long trade war between the world’s two largest economies will be led by Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Liu He, China’s vice premier. President Trump plans to meet with Mr. Liu at the conclusion of the talks on Thursday.
The countries are facing a March 2 deadline to reach a trade agreement — or the United States will raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports. But there is little chance that every issue will be resolved by that date, and Trump administration officials describe the negotiations as exponentially more complicated than anything the White House has tackled to date.
Here’s what to watch during this critical round of negotiations.
“As China Trade Talks Begin, Trump Faces Pressure to Make a Deal.” Last night’s Wall Street Journal article led with:
WASHINGTON—As the U.S. and China resume high-level trade talks Wednesday, President Trump sees himself with the upper hand given China’s lagging economic growth, but there is pressure for Mr. Trump and his administration to cut a deal too.
“On Both Ends of Capitol, Both Parties Warn Big Pharma on Drug Prices.” Yesterday’s New York Times article led with:
WASHINGTON — Members of Congress from both parties served notice on pharmaceutical companies on Tuesday that the days of unchecked drug-price increases were over and that they would be held politically accountable for exorbitant prices.
The new reality became apparent at simultaneous but separate hearings of House and Senate committees where lawmakers said that the relentless increases were unsustainable and unacceptable.
“There is a strong bipartisan consensus that we must do something to rein in out-of-control price increases,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “Drug companies make money hand over fist by raising the prices of their drugs — often without justification and sometimes overnight — while patients are left holding the bill.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the Finance Committee, and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the panel, denounced drug company executives who they said had refused to testify voluntarily.
“First House Infrastructure Hearing to Highlight Costs of Delay.” This morning’s CQ Roll Call article led with:
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will kick off its effort to boost highway and transit spending this year with a hearing Feb. 7 to emphasize the cost of delaying upgrades to aging roads, bridges, transit systems and airports.
“What happens if the rail tunnels under the Hudson River fail, what happens when the tunnel under Baltimore fails, built in the Civil War?” Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., told CQ last week during an interview. “What happens when two bridges, one 89 years old and one 60 years, over the Columbia River, they’re going to fail during an earthquake. And then I-5 is cut off?
“We need to begin thinking about what are the costs and the potential for calamity if we don’t make these investments,” he said.