With rumblings growing about a possible Washington shutdown on April 28 when the current continuing resolution expires, Deutsche Bank’s Washington expert Frank Kelly yesterday hosted a client call on the political implications of last week’s events.
He suggested that the surprise withdrawal of the Republican healthcare bill on Friday is a sign of the continued division within the Republican Party and is perhaps a precursor to growing political and policy risks in the US, and as discussed yesterday, he notes that even before considering the difficulties involved in passing President Trump’s tax reforms, there exists a very real possibility of a government shutdown on April 28 when the current continuing resolutions set to expire.
According to Kelly, there is a significant chance that the Freedom Caucus will reject a new continuing resolution due to their opposition to the continued funding of Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, while Trump’s spending plans for a border wall will see opposition from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.
As a result, Frank estimates the probability of a government shutdown at roughly 40% and notes that the next 2 weeks will be critical to watch.
Beyond the risks of a government shutdown, policy uncertainty continues to manifest itself in the form of questions surrounding Trump’s tax reform bill: Frank expects that the controversial Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) will not even make it into the final bill (at least not in its current form) and that the new corporate tax rate will likely be closer to 25% rather than the expected 15-20% range. Also despite the failure of the healthcare bill there is unlikely to be any acceleration in the proceedings on tax reform to fill the gap. The bill remains likely to go to Congress sometime in the first two weeks of May, and will likely only be picked up by the Senate in September.
Given these developing uncertainties, Frank suggests that markets should downgrade their expectations of progress going forward.
Meanwhile, in its latest morning note JPM takes the opposite view and writes that the risks of a shutdown are falling as Republicans will propose a bill void of some of the more controversial spending proposals, and it sounds like the GOP could be moving towards a “small” tax bill (note that Gary Cohn is expected to brief Trump on tax options this Thurs 3/30). As a result, and unlike DB’s recommendation to trim optimism, JPM suggests that “the broader domestic equity macro backdrop remains the same as before.”
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