Overnight Regulation: Trump's labor pick withdraws nomination

Overnight Regulation: Trump's labor pick withdraws nomination
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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 Wednesday evening here in Washington where it's been an eventful week. First Michael Flynn resigned as National Security Adviser and now Andy Puzder, Trump's pick for Labor secretary, is out too. 

Here's the latest. 

 

THE BIG STORY 

Andy Puzder on Wednesday withdrew his nomination to be President Trump's Labor secretary, avoiding what would have been a rocky confirmation battle.

"After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I am withdrawing my nomination for secretary of Labor. I am honored to have been considered by President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOPINION: Dear media, Americans don't care about Obama's legacy Make America’s classroom and workplaces safe again Preet Bharara emailed DOJ about phone call from Trump: report MORE to lead the Department of Labor and put America's workers and businesses back on a path to sustainable prosperity," he said in a statement.

Puzder thanked his family and backers who voiced support for "the policies and new thinking I would have brought to America as secretary of Labor."

"While I won't be serving in the administration, I fully support the president and his highly qualified team," Puzder said. 

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was scheduled to consider Puzder's nomination Thursday in a hearing that had previously been delayed five times. 

Top GOP members reportedly urged the White House to withdraw Puzder's nomination, according to CNN.

Puzder, the CEO of the fast-food conglomerate that owns the burger chains Hardee's and Carl's Jr., has been under attack by Democrats and outside groups for weeks for admitting he hired an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and past allegations that he abused his ex-wife and treated employees poorly. 

Oprah Winfrey's network reportedly provided committee members with a copy of a 1990 episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in which Puzder's ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, reportedly appeared in disguise to speak out as a domestic violence victim.

She discussed allegations of physical abuse against her former husband in the show. Fierstein has since retracted her allegations, including in a recent letter to the Senate committee, Politico reported.

In a call with reporters Wednesday, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who is now running for chair of the Democratic National Committee, called the news of Puzder's withdrawal just another day of chaos in the Trump administration.

"Through this appointment he's shown he was trying to make it harder for workers to get ahead and stay ahead," he said of President Trump. 

"I'm pleased, but not optimistic the next pick will have any more moral authority given that the president has taken so many actions not to drain the swamp, but make sure the swamp full of his Wall Street cronies."

The news of Puzder bowing out comes less than two days after Michael Flynn resigned as Trump's national security adviser amid reports that he misled senior White House officials about his conversations with Russia.

Perez said Puzder, like Flynn, was not only incompetent, but also dangerous. 

"If I had half the transgressions of Andy Puzder I never would have gotten through," he said.

Puzder supporters, meanwhile, called his decision "extremely unfortunate." 

"Andy Puzder would have made a great Labor Secretary," Cicely Simpson, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association, said in a statement.

"We hope that President Trump's next Labor Secretary nominee, like Andy, has experience creating jobs and a deep understanding how to get business and government to work together to grow the economy."

Read the story here

 

ON TAP FOR THURSDAY:

The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Seema Verma to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the pros and cons of restricting food stamp purchases. 

The House Agriculture Committee will also meet to mark up the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017. 

The House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections will hold a hearing to discuss federal wage and hour policies.  

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

Thursday's edition of the Federal Register delays a number of rules finalized in the waning days of the Obama administration. Federal agencies are following President Trump's order to freeze all regulatory actions and delay rules that have already been made final, but haven't taken effect.

Here's the lowdown:

Health privacy: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delaying a final rule aimed at better protecting the privacy of alcohol and drug abuse patients who seek treatment.

The rule, scheduled to take effect Feb. 17, has now been delayed until March 21. HHS said it's following the Trump administration's order to freeze all regulatory actions.

Disabled workers: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is delaying a rule to require federal agencies to enact hiring policies that favor individuals with disabilities.

The rule set to take effect March 6 is now delayed until March 21.

Toxins: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is delaying a rule to amend the list of agents and toxins that have the potential to pose a severe threat to animals and plants.

The rule is now delayed until March 21.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW 

House passes bill to roll back restrictions on drug testing the unemployed

Interim EPA head says hiring freeze hurting the agency

Report: Trump aiming to sign executive orders on EPA

GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget

GOP reps demand investigation of EPA employees using encrypted chat

GOP considers ways to 'modernize' endangered species law

IRS loosening enforcement of ObamaCare mandate

Next stage of FCC wireless auction set for March

Tribe, Dakota Access developer face off at House hearing

FCC reaches $9.1M settlement with telecom firms over improper billing

Boeing urges Congress to streamline aircraft certification process

US falls in economic freedom index 

Price huddles with Senate GOP on ObamaCare 

Trump admin moves to 'stabilize' ObamaCare markets

Trump says Flynn was treated unfairly, a day after Spicer said he was fired because of lack of trust – The Washington Post 

Puzder lasted longer than I expected: Obama vetting chief – USA Today

 

TODAY'S REG COUNT 

1: Proposed rules

8: Final rules 

(Source: Federal Register)