OVERNIGHT REGULATION: CFPB in the crosshairs

Welcome to week two of OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily destination for all of today’s top regulatory and enforcement news – and tomorrow’s biggest storylines from Congress, agencies and the courts. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

 

THE BIG STORY:

Watching the watchdogs: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray is headed for the hot seat Tuesday morning, when the regulator is slated to appear before the Senate Banking Committee.

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The three-year-old CFPB has become a favorite punching bag for congressional Republicans, who oppose the very structure of the independent agency, which doesn’t rely Congress for funding.

As Cordray sets out to defend the CFPB’s work, House GOPers on the other side of the Capitol Complex plan Tuesday to take up a slate of bills aimed at reining in the agency’s regulatory power. The House Financial Services panel is scheduled to mark-up no less than nine bills directly aimed at the CFPB’s authority: http://j.mp/1n2sIK8

--Sneak peak:  Cordray will use his testimony Tuesday to tout the bureau’s work reimbursing consumers who’ve fallen prey to unscrupulous financial schemes, according to prepared remarks. In total, the CFPB has overseen refunds totaling some $3.8 billion to victims, and leveled fines totaling more the $141 million against bad actors: http://j.mp/1n2sFxT

“Since we opened our doors, we have been focused on making consumer financial markets work better for the American people, the honest businesses that serve them, and the economy as a whole.”  – Cordray, in planned testimony.

 

ALSO ON TAP FOR TUESDAY:

The House and Senate are both in town, President Obama has returned from his European voyage and federal agencies are busy cranking out rules, setting the stage for a newsy week in DC. With temperatures in the mid-80s and the humidity creeping in, it’s going to get sticky.

Vice President Joe Biden will head into what could be less than friendly waters, when he takes the stage at the National Association of Manufacturers’ annual conference. The group has been highly critical of the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda, though the White House has touted a manufacturing resurgence

The House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a subcommittee hearing to discuss how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Republicans on the subcommittee have expressed concerns that the EEOC is focusing on broad patterns of discrimination within an industry or at a particular company, rather than individual cases of discrimination. http://j.mp/1pWFXkD

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will hold an advisory committee hearing Tuesday to discuss how to improve the post-marketing surveillance of medical devices. Watch the live webcast here starting at 9 a.m. http://j.mp/1ih3sNy

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY:

The Obama administration plans to issue 156 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Tuesday's edition of the Federal Register.

-Call waiting: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is placing on hold a rule that would help emergency responders more easily locate 911 callers by tracking the GPS signal on their cellphones, the agency said Monday. 

In March, the FCC announced it was considering new rules that would require wireless companies such as Verizon to share information that could be used to help 911 operators locate people calling from their cellphones from within a home or building. But the FCC now says it is extending the comment period through July 14 to give industry groups more time to consider the rule. The FCC may still move forward with the rule afterwards.

Before the proliferation of cellphones, people would call 911 from their landlines, which were easier to trace to a home or office building. But these days, the emergency response system receives more wireless calls.

"If you call 911 from a wireless phone indoors, you should cross your fingers and hope and pray, because no location accuracy standards apply," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said at a hearing in February. http://j.mp/1oEjXsW

-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will issue new infant formula standards to protect young children at the earliest stages of growth. The new guidance will require manufacturers to test formula for nutrient content and make sure that it is free of bacteria such as salmonella. http://j.mp/1uMfp5s

-The Department of Transportation is looking at new rules for commercial fishing boats. The Transportation Department's Maritime Administration will propose new rules Tuesday for large fishing boats that are longer than 165 feet. http://j.mp/UoHlQj

-The FDA will issue new electronic reporting requirements for pharmaceutical companies effective immediately. By requiring drug manufacturers to file their post-marketing safety reports electronically, the FDA hopes to respond more quickly to problems that emerge. http://j.mp/1n2sm6h

-The Treasury Department is looking to harmonize certain regulations between banks and federal savings associations. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will propose new rules Tuesday that would integrate the separate standards it has for these two types of financial institutions, thereby eliminating any overlapping requirements, the agency said. http://j.mp/TB3Ctn

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW:

STUDENT LOANS: The executive power play of the day goes to President Obama, who announced a new directive allowing millions of borrowers to qualify for a student loan repayment program that limits the size of monthly payments. An executive order directs the Education Department to write rules implementing the new standard, making it available by the end of 2015, per The Hill’s Peter Schroeder: http://j.mp/1igZ8hm

DRONING ON:  Under pressure to develop regulations governing the use of commercial drones, the Federal Aviation Administration has established a third testing zone in American airspace, writes The Hill’s Keith Laing: http://j.mp/1l1xuoz

TRUCKING REGS are back in the spotlight after comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured and another man was killed in a pile up over the weekend that authorities believe may have been caused by a reckless big rig driver. As noted by The Huffington Post, the wreck comes on the heels of a recent push in the Senate to dial back new limits on the number of hours truck drivers can stay behind the wheel:http://j.mp/1px1xd7

I SPY: The Treasury Department is clarifying rules governing how much information banks can share with intelligence agencies about suspicious transactions by their customers, Bloomberg reports. This information is used to help spy agencies spot potential terrorism threats. http://j.mp/TBmqbY

BREATHING EASYTime Magazine's Bryan Walsh argues that the public health benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency's new coal regulations will outweigh any environmental benefits, pointing to EPA estimates that the rule will prevent as many as 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks.

"Countless Americans will breathe easier — literally — thanks in part to these rules," Walsh writes. "That's reason enough to celebrate." http://j.mp/1uMYSyb

 

COURT WATCH: The Supreme Court upheld the government’s narrow reading of federal immigration law, finding that many children who hit the age of 21 before receiving a visa would have to return to the bottom of the wait list: http://j.mp/SIjKbR

--Other SCOTUS news:

-The justices rejected BP’s request for a reprieve from the company’s obligation to begin paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in disputed payments stemming from the 2010 Gulf oil spill, Bloomberg reports: http://j.mp/1mypM6L

-The high court clarified a previous ruling limiting the authority of bankruptcy judges, per The Wall Street Journal: http://j.mp/1mypM6L

-Will the court take up regulations on chemical abortions? Maybe so, says National Review Online: http://j.mp/1myqSiH

 

BY THE NUMBERS:

5 million: The estimated number of additional borrowers that would be eligible for student loan repayment plans limiting their monthly payments, under the executive order signed Monday.

5: The number of Supreme Court justices backing federal immigration policy in Monday’s ruling – one more than the number (4) of separate opinions written in the case.

9: The number of bills designed to tamp down on the CFBP’s authority that are scheduled for markup Tuesday in the House Financial Services Committee.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Take a look and see who is it that’s fighting for you and your kids, and who is it that’s not. Because if there’s no consequences, then this kind of irresponsible behavior continues.” – Obama, on the politics of the student loan debate.

 

We’ll endeavor to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, via bgoad@thehill.com or tdevaney@thehill.com. And follow us at @ben_goad and @timdevaney.