Overnight Regulation: Biz groups push to scrap rule on reporting employee pay | GOP skeptical of Trump paid leave plan

Overnight Regulation: Biz groups push to scrap rule on reporting employee pay | GOP skeptical of Trump paid leave plan
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Tuesday evening here in Washington, where President Trump unveiled his fiscal 2018 budget. Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORIES:

Employee pay rule: Industry groups appealed to Congress Tuesday for relief from an Obama-era pay reporting rule they claim is overly burdensome and will do nothing to ensure equal pay for equal work.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rule requires companies with 100 employees or more to report pay data by sex and race starting in March 2018 on the annual Employer Information Report, or EEO-1 form, to further advance equal pay for women and minorities in the workplace.

Rae Vann, vice president and general counsel of the Equal Employment Advisory Council, told the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Tuesday that the data being collected is arbitrary.

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"Employers do not compensate their employees the same way," she said. "There are a myriad of variables that go into calculating an individual employee's or a class of employees' pay."

During the subcommittee hearing, titled "The Need for More Responsible Regulatory and Enforcement Policies at the EEOC," Subcommittee Chairman Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) asked if the pay data the EEOC collects will be sufficiently refined or rigorous enough to be used as evidence in court efforts to enforce anti-discrimination laws.

Vann said she doesn't believe it will.

"What the data collection purports to do is provide enforcement agencies or other outsiders summary data, which inherently is comparing apples to oranges," she said. "They are not comparing similarly situated individuals."

But Todd Cox, director of policy at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said the critique that the data collection is flawed does not remove the need to address pay discrimination.

"What the EEOC would do with the data that has not really been discussed is not only use it as an enforcement tool, but provide an aggregate look at where we are in respect to pay discrimination regionally, by industry," he said. "They could do reports to inform the public and employers about pay discrepancy."

Cox recommended industry partner with the agency to improve the rule.

"I don't think the answer is not to comply with the need to resolve pay discrimination," he said.

Click here for the full story.

 

Trump's paid leave plan: Republicans appear skeptical of President Trump's proposal to spend $19 billion over the next 10 years on paid parental leave.

"I've always had concerns about more federal mandates on employers," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Graham on Moore: 'We are about to give away a seat' key to Trump's agenda Tax plans show Congress putting donors over voters MORE (R-S.C.) told The Hill. "I can think of a million things that are good for employees, that are important in people's lives, the question for me is, how many jobs do you lose?"

Graham said it's a "worthy endeavor" to provide assistance to people who recently had a baby, but "you have to look at the economic impact it'll have on hiring."

The budget request Trump released Tuesday calls for spending $19 billion over 10 years to require that states provide parents and adopted parents six weeks of paid parental leave as part of unemployment benefits. The idea has been championed by the president's daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.

The figure in the budget is less than the $25 billion that Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, initially said the plan would cost on Monday. 

Trump's budget says states would be given "broad latitude to design and finance the program."

But if a state doesn't have enough money in their unemployment trust to pay for the benefits, they would be required to raise their payroll taxes or the federal government would do it for them, according to Marc Goldwein, senior policy director and senior vice president at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Trump's budget estimates $13 billion of the $19 billion cost would be paid for by the higher payroll taxes. Another $2.2 billion is expected to come from reducing unemployment fraud, while another $4 billion is estimated to come from efforts to get people on unemployment back to work. 

"I actually kind of think it's a decent package," Goldwein said. "When you compare this to what we have now, which is nothing, this does feel like a net improvement in terms of paid leave." 

Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeSenators tear into controversial Trump environment nominee McCain backs Pentagon nominee despite concerns over defense industry ties GOP senators ask Trump for meeting on biofuels mandate MORE (R-Okla.) said Trump angered some Republicans in offering a paid leave plan.

"There are were some Republicans who were upset with him," he said.

"Some of them said that's not really the position of what we were trying to do to make America great."

While Inhofe said he's glad Trump offered the plan, he wants to look it over before he'll say he supports it. 

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchProminent conservative passes on Utah Senate bid Republicans offer this impossible choice: Tax cuts or senior care Senate GOP running out of options to stop Moore MORE (R-Utah), meanwhile, seemed to support Trump's plan.

"I'm not against parental leave," he said. "I'd have to look at it and see how the cost figure out, but I'm for it."

Democrats, who have championed paid family leave, were quick to denounce the proposal.   

"I think it's a good start, but totally inadequate funding for paid family leave," Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE (I-Vt.) said at a press conference.

"The funding for this proposal is minuscule compared to what the needs are."

Click here for more.

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY

A Senate Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine pool safety requirements.

Two House Oversight subcommittees will hold a joint hearing to examine "sue and settle" agreements between federal agencies and environmental activists over regulatory enforcements.

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

Keep an eye on these rules in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register:

--The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay emission standards for composite wood products.

The EPA issued the Obama-era formaldehyde emission standards last December, but will now delay the implementation of these rules by three months.

The emissions standards and labeling provisions will now go into effect on March 22, 2018.

--The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue Obama-era efficiency standards for ceiling fans.

Though the Trump administration has delayed many other rules from the Obama administration, the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says it will continue with this rule.

The compliance date is Jan. 21, 2020.

--The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will correct a minor error in its review of the agency's financial regulations.

The CFTC issued a request for information earlier this month as it contemplates which regulations to make "simpler, less burdensome, and less costly." But the request for information contained the wrong web address, which the agency will update.

The public has until Sept. 30 to comment.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Labor Department to implement Obama's investment adviser rule

Trump budget seeks $1.6B for border wall 'bricks and mortar' 

Trump budget slashes EPA funding, opens Alaska refuge to drilling

Budget chief: Trump won't continue Obama's 'crazy' spending on climate

Here are the 66 programs eliminated in Trump's budget

Industry groups: Scrap rule for reporting employee pay

Trump to nominate three to nuclear commission

Feds sue Fiat Chrysler over emissions testing

Target to pay states $18.5M over hack

FCC opens public comment period for net neutrality

EPA science chair 'surprised' by dismissal of advisers

White House looks to speed infrastructure pace

EPA to consider repealing methane pollution standards for landfills 

 

BY THE NUMBERS

5: Proposed rules

5: Final rules

(Source: Wednesday's Federal Register)