Overnight Regulation: Trump aims to cut regs by 75 percent | Issues federal hiring freeze

Overnight Regulation: Trump aims to cut regs by 75 percent | Issues federal hiring freeze
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Monday evening here in Washington where the first full week of the Trump administration began. 

Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORIES

President Trump reiterated his campaign promise Monday to try and cut 75 percent of regulations.

"We're going to be cutting regulation massively," Trump said during a White House meeting with business leaders. "We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more."

This isn't the first time the president put a figure on the number of regulations his administration intends to repeal. In October, Trump said he planned to cut "70 to 80 percent of the regulations."

Trump on Monday said regulations are "out of control."

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At the time Trump was sworn in on Friday, the Federal Register contained 89,535 regulations published since 1994, many of which Republicans say are outdated and duplicative.

Critics say regulations have been piling up since the government's rulebook was first launched in 1935.

But regulatory advocates are warning of "disastrous consequences" if Trump cuts so many rules.

"There is no way for President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHuckabee on Trump priorities: ‘A beheading is still worse than a sunburn’ Dan Rather pleads for Trump to pay attention to Portland murders Trudeau says Trump was ’robust,’ 'frank’ with him MORE to slash regulations by 75 percent without cutting into bedrock public protections that hold Wall Street accountable, keep our water and children safe from lead poisoning, and contain food contamination outbreaks," said Amit Narang, regulatory policy advocate at the left-leaning Public Citizen.

Doing so would "permit corporations to rip off consumers, poison our environment, [and] cheat and mistreat workers," he added. 

Read more here.

 

Trump's plan for curtailing regulations also includes a hiring freeze at federal agencies. The Hill's Ben Kamisar has the story:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order freezing all federal government hiring except for the military, making good on a promise from his campaign. 

The new president issued the order alongside two others on Monday morning -- one to ban international organizations from using U.S. funds if they provide or promote abortions and another withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

He signed the orders just before noon in the Oval Office as Vice President Mike PenceMike (Michael) Richard PencePence takes a lap at Indy 500 Colbert imagines Trump’s postcards home during foreign trip Trump and Russia: A timeline on communications MORE, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon and other top aides looked on. 

Priebus presented him with the document, Trump interrupted to make clear that the freeze exempted the military. He made no further comment about the new directive. 

White House press secretary Sean Spicer shed light on the plan later Monday, noting that it "counters the dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years."

"It prevents filling vacant positions and creating new positions except when necessary to meet national or public security responsibility," he told reporters.

"It ensures the American taxpayers get effective and efficient government."

Trump's call for a hiring freeze dates back to an October speech in Gettysburg, Penn. as part of his "Contract with the American Voter." 

He's not the first president to freeze hiring, though.

Read more here.

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY 

Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the confirmation of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will question Mulvaney in the afternoon. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee meanwhile will meet to vote on the confirmation of Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump and Russia: A timeline on communications Hispanic Dems demand meeting with Sessions Justice Department to seek Supreme Court review in Trump travel ban case MORE (R-Ala.) as attorney general. 

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will meet to vote on the nomination of Ben Carson to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 

The Senate Small Business Committee will consider the nomination of Linda McMahon to be head of the Small Business Administration. 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing to vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of Education. 

The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Affordable Care Act and it's harmful effects. 

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

The final edition of the Federal Register compiled under President Obama contains 17 final rules, representing the last regulatory actions of his tenure in office.

The rules, scheduled to be published Tuesday, include guidelines for automated vehicles, efficiency standards for federal buildings, and a delay to cybersecurity standards for banks.

The rules were sent to the Federal Register for publication before President Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, issued a regulatory moratorium on Friday blocking federal agencies from issuing new rules. The edition also contains two proposed rules, which are not final.

In the coming weeks, the flow of regulations published in the Federal Register is expected to slow to a trickle -- with the exception of emergency rules Trump will allow -- while midnight regulations like these issued during the final days of the Obama administration could be withdrawn or delayed.

Here are the biggest regulations that will be published Tuesday.

--Wall Street regulators will delay new cybersecurity standards for banks.

In October, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Comptroller of the Currency floated the idea of strengthening the cybersecurity requirements for the nation's largest banks. But the financial regulators will now reopen the comment period to give the public more time to consider the changes.

The public now has until Feb. 17 to comment.

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue new efficiency standards for federal buildings.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will issue a final environmental assessment, which clears the way for new efficiency standards for federal buildings that are under construction.

The agency will determine an environmental impact statement is not necessary before strengthening the efficiency standards for federal buildings.

"The DOE is required to establish the building energy efficiency standards for all new federal buildings," the agency writes. "In turn, each federal agency and the Architect of the Capitol must adopt procedures to ensure that new federal buildings will meet or exceed these federal building energy efficiency standards."

--The Department of Transportation (DOT) will push new guidelines for automated vehicles.

The Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will hold a public meeting on Feb. 13 to review an "initial regulatory framework for highly automated vehicles."

The public meeting will inform the agency as it develops safety guidelines for the "design, development, testing, and deployment" of automated vehicles.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW 

Study: Obama administration issued $40B in 'midnight' regs 

Supreme Court rejects 'Sister Wives' appeal over bigamy laws 

Supreme Court rejects Texas voter ID appeal 

GOP eyes new push to break up California court 

Republican Ajit Pai named new FCC chairman

AT&T beefs up lobbying after merger proposal

Trump adviser in Canada: Prospects for Keystone XL looking up

SEC investigating Yahoo over breach

Uber tripled its lobbying efforts in 2016

Judge blocks giant health insurance merger

Trump reinstates ban on US funds promoting abortion overseas

Trump team plans big cuts at EPA

Cubans blocked at US border place hopes in Trump – The New York Times 

Ethics experts file lawsuit saying Trump's overseas interests violate Constitution – NPR 

 

TODAY'S REG COUNT

1: Proposed rules

9: Final rules

(Source: Federal Register)

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY 

"I believe sometimes we may disagree on the facts. There are certain things that we may not fully understand when we come out, but our intention is never to lie to you," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on his first day on the job. Spicer pledged to tell reporters the truth even as he defended his claim from Saturday that Trump's inauguration had a record audience. His first press briefing was must-see television in Washington. The Hill's Ben Kamisar has the story.