OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Cordray back on the hot seat

Welcome to week three of OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily destination for today’s top regulatory news and tomorrow’s biggest storylines from Congress, the federal agencies and courts.

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THE BIG STORY:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray heads to the hill Wednesday for the second time in as many weeks, where he will face tough questions from the Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committeehttp://j.mp/1q8kenH

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Cordray will deliver the CFPB's semi-annual report to the House panel, where he is expected to push for reforms on student and payday lenders, much as he did last week in front of the Senate Banking Committee. http://j.mp/1l0Yeuh

But the House panel promises to be much more critical of Cordray's work at the CFPB. Just last week it marked up a slew of bills aimed at reining in the agency's regulatory power.

—What to look for:

1) Student loans were the focus on last week's hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. Cordray received high praise from Democrats like Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) — and little criticism from Republicans — for the CFPB's efforts to protect students and graduates from lenders who immediately demand full repayment when a parent or grandparent who co-signed the loan dies. http://j.mp/1l0Yeuh

2) Payday lenders are in Cordray's sights. Most Democrats support the CFPB's efforts to crack down on payday lenders, who critics claim take advantage of poor people by promising quick cash but demanding immediate repayment and high interest rates. But Republicans warn if the CFPB isn't careful it will remove an important line of credit from low-income consumers who can't get loans elsewhere. http://j.mp/1ku1kU2

3) Data collection activities have gotten the CFPB in hot water with Republicans who are concerned by the agency’s plan to collect credit card information on millions of consumers. But Cordray says the information will lead to a safer marketplace for consumers. 

4) Discrimination claims have plagued the CFPB this year with several employees saying they were treated unfairly. On Wednesday, the House Financial Services subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a separate hearing focusing on these allegations, but Cordray won’t be attending that hearing. http://j.mp/1jw93jk

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY:

The Senate and House will both be in session.

Days after General Motors' latest recall for a problem with the ignition switch in millions of cars, CEO Mary Barra will be in Washington to testify before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Investigations. http://j.mp/1latmZm

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will deliver the agency's semi-annual report to the House Financial Services Committee, one week after he reported to the Senate Banking Committee. http://j.mp/1q8kenH

Hours later, the House Financial Services subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold its third hearing on allegations of discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB. But Cordray will not testify at this second hearing of the day. http://j.mp/1jw93jk

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will be the latest Senate panel to examine the dangers e-cigarettes present to children with a hearing on alleged "aggressive" marketing practices. http://j.mp/1vbKTSS

Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has accused e-cigarette companies of subtly targeting children by selling candy-flavored e-cigs that appeal to people under the age of 18.

Over the past few years, products known as e-cigarettes have surged in popularity, including among American youth,” according to the hearing announcement. “Along with serious concerns about the potential health impacts of youth exposure to e-cigarettes, there is mounting evidence that the e-cigarette industry’s marketing is reaching a substantial youth audience.”

The Senate Banking subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment will be the second Senate panel in as many days to take a stab at high-frequency trading on Wall Street and how it impacts the economy. http://j.mp/1xVHJ7O

The House Judiciary Committee will mark up two bills, including one that prohibits states and cities from taxing access to the Internet, and another known as the SCRUB Act (or Search for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome) that would seek to remove red tape. http://j.mp/1ydNHkO

The National Press Club will hold an event looking at how the Federal Aviation Administration intends to regulate commercial drones. http://j.mp/1oAGyJ8

The conservative America's Future Foundation will host a discussion looking at the impact of right-to-work policies on workers. http://j.mp/1i7OiQt

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY:

The Obama administration plans to issue 131 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register. The busiest regulatory agencies will be the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), each issuing more than a dozen actions.

-The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may overhaul its energy-labeling rule for decorative light bulbs, refrigerators, ceiling fans, furnaces, televisions, and air conditioners.

The new rules would require decorative light bulbs to publish energy labels, known as Lighting Facts, for the first time. These labels would include information about the bulb's brightness, color, life, energy use, and estimated annual energy cost.

Traditional light bulbs, such as incandescents, fluorescents, and LEDs, already comply with this rule. But, so far, decorative lights have been exempt. http://j.mp/1nbn7Ac

-The U.S. Forest Service will consider new rules that would restrict the use of snowmobiles on National Forest roads and trails, so they don't interfere with other people in the woods. http://j.mp/1l0Kek7

-The Nuclear Regulatory Commission may require certain nuclear facilities to upgrade their security procedures, including possible fitness requirements for the guards patrolling these facilities. http://j.mp/1pFG5oM

-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may relax the regulations on certain manually-operated wheelchair lifts that help disabled people get around their homes and buildings. http://j.mp/1jwxFIO

-The FDA will also ease the rules on certain dental implant devices that dentists use to replace patients' teeth. http://j.mp/U74GFE

-The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will move forward with new procedures for issuing temporary cease-and-desist orders. http://j.mp/1i8n8J2

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW:

WIZARD OF OZ? Skeptical senators suggested Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz, may need a wand and some ruby slippers to make his feel-good weight loss claims come true. http://j.mp/1ih5x1u

WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE: The FDA will consider loosening the restrictions on certain wheelchair lifts that help disabled people climb stairs in their homes and buildings, and get into cars, airplanes, trains, and boats. http://j.mp/1oCcgpn

BLOWING IN THE WIND: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is blowing the wind energy tax credit down, telling The Hill's Tim Cama that Congress should not renew the program, because the industry has become competitive and no longer needs government support. http://j.mp/1uBz0U6

DEATH AND TAXES: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is facing a $341 million budget cut from House Republicans, The Hill's Peter Schroeder reports. http://j.mp/1i6ismI

DON'T BE TOO SOCIAL: The FDA is issuing new social media guidance for pharmaceutical companies that tweet about their prescription drugs and medical devices. http://j.mp/1lQ3XDa

LET THERE BE LIGHT REGS: The FTC may require decorative light bulbs to publish energy labels that provide consumers with information about a bulb's brightness, color, life, energy use, and estimated annual energy cost. 

If the FTC moves forward with the rules, decorative light bulbs would be required to comply with the same energy labeling requirements that traditional light bulbs such as incandescents and fluorescents, have been following since 2010. http://j.mp/1vKtgKb

 

BY THE NUMBERS:

20M: The total number of cars GM has recalled in 2014 — more than the number of cars it sold in the U.S. last year. 

44: The number of recalls GM has issued this year.

15: The number of GM employees who have been fired over the recalls.

$2B: How much money GM has spent on fixing recalled cars through the first half of this year.

$35M: How much money the Transportation Department fined GM last month for the recalls. Many though speculate the Justice Department will bring the hammer down on GM with an even larger fine. 

54: The number of crashes linked to the recalls. 

13: The number of deaths linked to the recalls.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"I want this terrible experience permanently etched in our collective memories. This is a tragic problem that never should have happened. And it must never happen again." – Prepared remarks from GM CEO Mary Barra for Wednesday’s congressional hearing about the company's massive recalls.

 

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.