Overnight Regulation: GOP to plot regulatory repeal at retreat

Overnight Regulation: GOP to plot regulatory repeal at retreat
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Tuesday evening here in Washington and we're loving that WWE fighter "Triple H" was on the Hill today to support his mother-in-law, Linda McMahon, at her confirmation hearing.  

Here's the latest.

 

THE SCOOP

Republicans will map out a plan to repeal Obama-era regulations Wednesday at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia.

GOP leadership intends to release a list of regulations that are among the top priorities for Republicans lawmakers to overturn using the Congressional Review Act, The Hill has learned.

"We will see a list of the top ones at this retreat tomorrow," Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanSens submit bill to 'Hack the DHS' CBO score underlines GOP tensions on ObamaCare repeal Senate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer MORE (R-Ohio) told The Hill.

It is unclear how many and which regulations Republicans intend to overturn, but several rules they will likely target include: The Interior Department's methane emissions rule, Labor Department's blacklist rule, and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) stream protection rule.

The Congressional Review Act allows lawmakers to overturn recently published regulations with a simple majority, meaning Republicans don't need Democratic support to repeal these rules. But it only applies to rules that were finalized within the last 60 legislative days.

In the last Congress, Republicans struck down four regulations using this approach, but each time President Obama vetoed. With President Trump making regulatory reform a key component of his administration, the Republicans figure to turn to this legislative tool again in 2017.

Stay tuned.

 

THE BIG STORIES

World Wrestling Entertainment's former CEO Linda McMahon avoided a smack down at her confirmation hearing Tuesday. 

Trump's pick to lead the Small Business Administration fielded friendly questions from both Republicans and Democrats during her relatively short confirmation hearing before the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. 

Though McMahon and her husband turned WWE into a multimillion-dollar business -- and Bloomberg Billionaires estimates their net worth at $1.356 billion -- she recounted their early business struggles in her opening statement.

"I remember the early days, when every month I had to decide whether I should continue to lease a typewriter or if I could finally afford to buy it," she said, noting she shared a desk with her husband in the beginning.

Committee Chairman James Risch (R-Idaho) called the testimony "heartbreaking," an example of the mostly friendly treatment McMahon received from the panel.

"She does have that small-business experience," he told The Hill after the hearing.

"The last business she was in started as a small business and, yes, she grew it into a big business, but after all, that's what every small-business person strives for, is to make their small business a big business."

McMahon told the Office of Government Ethics earlier this month that she'll resign from all roles at WWE and her women's leadership company. She will receive only passive investment incomes from those businesses going forward.

When the McMahons went public with WWE in 1999, the company had $251.5 million in annual revenue and 276 full-time employees. By 2015 it had grown to $659 million in revenue, and as of February 2016 had 840 employees, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Risch said the committee is hoping to hold a vote on McMahon's confirmation early next week.

Read the full story here

  

Also on Tuesday, President Trump signed a pair of executive actions to speed up approval of two controversial energy projects, the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. The Hill's Devin Henry and Timothy Cama have the story:

In an Oval Office ceremony, Trump said the actions would create new jobs in the United States, and that the pipelines should be built with U.S. steel and labor.

"We will build our own pipeline, we will build our own pipes, like we used to, in the old days," Trump said as he held up one of his actions to television cameras brought into the Oval Office to broadcast the event.

The actions are a sharp turn from the Obama administration's policies, as the former president had rejected the Keystone pipeline and delayed Dakota Access.

Tuesday's actions will not force the approval of either project, and Trump said he wanted to renegotiate terms with the pipelines' developers. Those terms may include some way for the United States government to get a financial return from Keystone, a possibility he mentioned on the campaign trail.

But the orders fulfill campaign promises Trump made to move both pipelines forward. They will gain ardent support from the oil industry and the GOP but strong opposition from Democrats and environmentalists.

Read the full story here.

  

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY 

GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate will meet in Philadelphia for a joint retreat starting Wednesday.

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

President Trump's regulatory moratorium is trickling down to the Federal Register, where agencies on Wednesday will post nearly two-dozen notices that they intend to withdraw regulations from the government's rulebook.

The Federal Register will attach 23 editorial notes to regulations published in recent weeks, indicating the agencies requested these rules be withdrawn. This includes an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that limits mercury discharges from dentists, the Energy Department's efficiency standards for federal buildings, and poverty guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services.

On Friday, Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus warned federal agencies not to issue any more regulations until the new administration has a chance to review the rules. He also told agencies to withdraw rules that had been sent to, but not yet published in the Federal Register.

Wednesday's withdrawals, however, seem to include various rules, proposed rules and guidelines that have already been published.

The editorial notes read: "EPA requested the withdrawal of this document after it was on public inspection. It will remain on public inspection until the close of business on January 24. A copy of the withdrawal request is available at the Office of the Federal Register."

Trump's regulatory moratorium has slowed the pace of rulemaking in Washington, but it hasn't entirely killed regulation.

The regulatory moratorium also carved out an exemption for rules that address emergency situations pertaining to public health or safety. In Trump's first edition of the Federal Register, several agencies take advantage of this loophole.

The Federal Register will publish seven final rules and three proposed rules in Wednesday's edition. Keep an eye on these rules:

--The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will propose extending its request for information as it reviews mattress flammability standards.

The flammability standards apply to mattresses, mattress pads and mattress sets, and include testing and recordkeeping requirements. The public has 60 days to comment.

--The Department of Transportation (DOT) will not require car manufacturers to install automatic emergency brakes.

The Transportation Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a petition last year to require "forward crash warning, crash imminent braking, and dynamic brake support" in new cars. But the agency said Tuesday those rules are not necessary, because "more than 99 percent of light motor vehicle" already include these braking technologies.

"First, NHTSA has expanded its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) so that the NCAP information for a vehicle notes whether the vehicle is equipped with one or more of these technologies," the agency said. "Second, it has sought public comment on its plans to revise NCAP so that the presence and level of performance of these technologies affects the overall rating of light motor vehicles."

The decision goes into effect immediately.

--The CFTC will propose new swap data rules.

The proposed rules will address "access to swap data held by swap data repositories."

The public has 60 days to comment.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Trump vows to cut regulations in meeting with US automakers

Republican asks Trump to repeal or delay e-cig rule

Trump to announce Supreme Court pick next week

Senate committee clears Carson nomination

Warren backs Carson for HUD secretary

Cordray: No change for consumer bureau under Trump

Dems promise to stand up to FCC chair on net neutrality

Lead levels in Flint's water no longer above federal limit

Republican senator presses McMahon on EPA water rule

Americans are surprisingly supportive of government regulations Trump wants to dismantle (The Washington Post)

 

TODAY'S REG COUNT

3: Proposed rules

7: Final rules

(Source: Federal Register)

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We want regulations, but we want real regulations that mean something," -- President Trump, speaking to automakers. Trump promised to roll back regulations and taxes to encourage them to build more cars in the U.S. Read more here

We'll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill's Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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