Overnight Regulation: Liberal groups train their fire on Trump education, labor picks

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of the news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington where it's been a busy week. Is it Friday yet? 

Here's the latest.



Liberal groups have sought to jam Republican phones lines with protests of President Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education secretary.

Credo Action's vice president and political director, Murshed Zaheed, said its members made 18,000 calls to members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on DeVos, targeting committee Democrats and key Republicans, including Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMichael Steele: Congress must lead on cannabis reform and stand with the American public Proposed budget for Indian Health Services won't treat Native American patients equally Keep anti-environment riders for Alaska out of spending bill MORE (R-Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: House passes .3T omnibus | Bill boosts funds for NIH, opioid treatment | Senators spar over ObamaCare fix | 'Right to Try' bill heads to the Senate Winners and losers from the .3T omnibus Senators introduced revised version of election cyber bill MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichael Steele: Congress must lead on cannabis reform and stand with the American public Lawmakers renew call for end to 'black budget' secrecy McCain asks Trump's CIA pick to explain ties to torture MORE (R-Ky.).

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHouse GOP frets over Pennsylvania race Do the numbers add up for Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania? Poll: Five Senate Dems would lose to GOP challenger if elections held today MORE (D-Pa.) has received more than 50,000 emails and letters opposing DeVos, according to his spokesman, John Rizzo. 

And Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineBill to bolster gun background checks gains enough support to break filibuster Senators demand cyber deterrence strategy from Trump Two-year defense spending smooths the way to a ready military MORE's (D-Va.) spokeswoman, Sarah Peck, said Kaine has received more than 25,000 emails and letters about DeVos alone and the vast majority have been in opposition to her nomination.

Calls to action on social media platforms like Facebook have included a list of Republican senators on the HELP Committee, urging people to phone offices in an attempt to block DeVos's nomination.

In a series of tweets Tuesday, Murkowski, who sits on the committee, said her Alaska and D.C. offices have been "overwhelmed with calls from the lower 48, which has made it difficult for Alaskans to express their opinions."

She said her staff is doing the best they can to manage the phone calls and listen to voicemails. ...

Political advocacy group Every Voice teamed up with End Citizens United for a campaign heavily focused on DeVos. In a digital ad targeting senators who have received donations from the nominee, Every Voice urges constituents to call on their senators to recuse themselves from DeVos's confirmation hearing.

While no senators have done so, communications director Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOnce on chopping block, Trump's budget puts development finance in overdrive America cannot afford to be left behind on global development Congress, fight global poverty by modernizing our private-sector tools MORE said the group's effort helped highlight the role DeVos's money has played in politics.

But DeVos isn't the only nominee lawmakers are getting calls about.

Several GOP Senate offices report being overwhelmed with protest messages against Trump's Cabinet picks, with the volume so high that some mailboxes are full.

Read the full story here.


In other news, the Senate labor committee has again delayed its hearing on Trump's labor pick Andy Puzder.

This is the third delay for the fast-food CEO was originally scheduled to appear before the committee on Jan. 12. The hearing is now scheduled for Feb. 7.

The delay comes as Puzder faces a new round of protests from fast food workers at his own restaurants. Workers at Hardee's and Carl's Jr. locations in 31 cities on Thursday are rallying against the restaurant chief.

At the same time, 33 employees on Thursday filed wage theft and sexual harassment complaints against Puzder's restaurants.

Read the story here.



Keep an eye out for these rules in Friday's edition of the Federal Register:

--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will draft new guidelines for self-shielded irradiators.

The guidelines will apply to those seeking "materials licenses for self-shielded irradiators." The changes include new "information on safety culture, security of radioactive materials, protection of sensitive information, and changes in regulatory policies and practices," the agency says.

The public has until March 10 to comment. 

--The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will ban three synthetic cannabinoids.

The synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of marijuana. The DEA temporarily prohibited these drugs in 2015, but the ban was scheduled to expire Sunday. So the agency is extending the temporary order "until the permanent scheduling action for these three substances is completed."

The ban covers "THJ-2201, AB-PINACA and AB-CHMINACA."

--The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will formally raise the fines for people who violate the law.

The DHS temporarily raised the monetary civil penalties last summer, and the agency is now making those fines permanent. The changes account for inflation. They will apply to "violation that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015."

The DHS order includes the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Coast Guard.

The penalties go into effect immediately.

--The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will delay new rules for its Centers of Excellence and Expertise, which are focused on improving trade practices and bringing uniformity across the country.

The agency temporarily established new responsibilities for the organization in December, but will extend the comment period on the final rule to give the public more time to consider the changes.

The public now has until March 20 to comment.



Keystone XL builder sends new permit application to Trump

FCC approves $170M to boost rural broadband in NY

Elon Musk floated carbon tax to Trump

Conservative groups ask Congress to rescind FCC privacy rules

House Dems: Trump's federal agency 'gag orders' likely illegal

TSA adds 11 new airlines to PreCheck program

Trump names Obama nominee as temporary top energy regulator

GOP expects sweeping change at Trump's FCC

Trump appoints acting chairs to labor boards

Trump names Obama nominee as temporary top energy regulator

Union membership hits new low

The quiet GOP campaign against government regulation (The Atlantic)

Trump appoints regulation critic as FTC chairwoman (Engadget)

Huge regulation cuts in 2017: Directors beware (Forbes)

The fine print in Trump's regulation memo (Bloomberg)



1: Proposed rule

4: Final rules

(Source: Federal Register)