By The Hill Staff - 05/19/11 11:45 PM EDT
• The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has written a final rule, now with OMB, that would create a certification program allowing shippers, manufacturers and others to screen any packages or cargo to be sent on a passenger plane. The rule that created the Certified Cargo Screening Program was initially implemented as an interim rule in order to comply with the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. While the plan is projected to cost $1.9 billion discounted at 7 percent over 10 years, alternatives that the department considered would have cost $7.7 billion discounted at 7 percent during the same period. TSA considers this rule to be essential to preventing terrorist attacks.
• The Department of Education proposed a rule that requires career colleges to prove that students from their programs are finding “gainful employment” after graduation. The department would measure the debt-to-income ratio and debt repayment rates of graduated students to determine whether they have found gainful employment. The rates of students meeting the criteria could affect schools’ eligibility for federal aid. Even though OMB has highlighted the regulation as “economically significant,” the department stated that only an estimated 5 percent of higher education programs would be affected. The department believes the rule is in the public’s best interest because taxpayers back federal student loans.
Public comment periods are closing soon for the following proposed rules:
• The National Credit Union Administration proposed a rule requiring federally insured credit unions to create written policies managing their risk if interest rates rise. The rule requires written policies from federally insured credit unions with between $10 million and $50 million in assets, whose mortgage loans and investments are greater than the organization’s net worth, and federally insured credit unions with more than $50 million in assets. Managing risk for these credit unions is important because any failure would significantly drain the shared insurance fund that is intended to protect all federally insured credit unions. The comment period for the proposed rule ends May 23.
• The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed a rule to allow per diem payments to be directed to a facility not recognized by Veterans Affairs as a state home if veterans are evacuated due to an emergency. Per diem payments are what Veterans Affairs pays to the state homes for providing care to veterans in
department-authorized facilities. The rule would set requirements that non-recognized facilities would need to meet in order to get paid for taking on veterans after an emergency. The comment period ends May 23.
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a rule that would ensure safe usage by doctors of a new type of machine that identifies pelvic masses. The rule would require a black box label for the new ovarian adnexal mass assessment score test systems clarifying that this product should only be used after a doctor has already identified a pelvic mass that needs an operation. The warning would ensure that the machine is not used as a screening test. The rule, which would apply to any future similar devices with the same use, is open for comment through May 23.