New regs for Friday: Age discrimination, air conditioners, healthcare fraud

Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for the energy efficiency of air conditioners, consumer products, commercial and industrial equipment, age discrimination, healthcare fraud, and Syrian sanctions.

Here's what is happening: 

Air conditioners: The Department of Energy is considering new efficiency rules for portable air conditioners. 

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy originally announced the proposed rules in July 2013, when it determined that portable air conditioners should be covered under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

As it considers new test procedures for these products under the proposed rule, the Energy Department is releasing the results of the agency's preliminary tests.

Waivers: The Department of Energy is moving forward with new rules for the manufacturers of consumer products as well as commercial and industrial equipment.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced Thursday new guidelines for how the manufacturers of these products can request waivers from certain test procedures. 

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Discrimination: The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is moving forward with new rules to prevent age discrimination at places such as museums, libraries, colleges and universities.

The NEH's rules would require institutions that receive agency funds to implement new age discrimination regulations.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

Fraud: The Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services is considering new rules intended to prevent fraud and abuse in Medicare and state health care programs.

The Affordable Care Act gave the Inspector General more authority to crack down on fraud in these federal and state healthcare programs, the agency said.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rules.

Syria: The Obama administration is declaring a national emergency in Syria and freezing the assets of those close to the Assad regime. 

The Syrian sanctions were originally introduced by the Bush administration in 2004, but President Obama announced Thursday he is extending the declaration of the national emergency by one year, because of the on-going civil war there.

Obama pointed to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons and support for terrorist organizations as reasons to extend the sanctions.

"The regime's brutal war on the Syrian people, who have been calling for freedom and a representative government, endangers not only the Syrian people themselves but also is generating instability throughout the region," the president wrote.