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.

 

THE BIG STORY 

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 MurkowskiThe Paris climate agreement: Stay in, renegotiate Dems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare A retreat from the Paris climate pact would imperil US interests MORE (R-Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsDems plot recess offensive on ObamaCare Senate takes lead on Trump’s infrastructure proposal Navy leaders defend Trump's lackluster ship budget MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRand PaulSenate gears up for fight on Trump's 0B Saudi Arabia arms sale Paul: 0B Saudi arms deal ‘a travesty’ Senate feels pressure for summer healthcare vote MORE (R-Ky.).

Sen. Bob CaseyBob CaseyThe case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers GOP senators distance themselves from House ObamaCare repeal bill Dem lawmakers voice shock, outrage on Comey memo MORE (D-Pa.) has received more than 50,000 emails and letters opposing DeVos, according to his spokesman, John Rizzo. 

And Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineTim Kaine's son charged with misdemeanor after Trump rally incident Senators move to rein in Trump with new ISIS war bill Kaine: ‘Broken promises’ in Trump budget 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 SmithAdam SmithNo, Mr. President, you don't have the 'better ideas' on trade GOP chairman's Pentagon acquisition bill looks past ‘bright shiny objects’ Lawmakers move to step up defenses against North Korea 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.

 

 TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

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.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

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)

  

BY THE NUMBERS

1: Proposed rule

4: Final rules

(Source: Federal Register)