Overnight Regulation: House passes bill to roll back Dodd-Frank | Sage grouse back in the spotlight | GOP chair won't back Glass-Steagall revival

Overnight Regulation: House passes bill to roll back Dodd-Frank | Sage grouse back in the spotlight | GOP chair won't back Glass-Steagall revival
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. We're still digesting the Comey hearing over here. But if you were stuck at work, we've got you covered. Head to TheHill.com for our recap on the dramatic testimony, the five key takeaways, and a breakdown of the hearing's winners and losers.

 

THE BIG STORY:

The House of Representatives passed sweeping legislation Thursday that would strip and replace much of the financial regulations passed under President Obama after the 2008 financial crisis.

Don't expect the measure to become law, though. It's not expected to pass in the Senate.

The House passed the Financial CHOICE Act on a party line vote, 233 to 186. 

Sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the CHOICE Act is the most ambitious Republican effort to roll back the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010.

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Republicans have long targeted Dodd-Frank, saying it has created a crushing regulatory burden that suffocates small businesses and banks while empowering unaccountable bureaucrats.

But Democrats say the bill has held Wall Street accountable for the risky investment practices that caused the crisis and protected Americans from predatory lending and abusive financial firms.

Sylvan Lane has the story.

 

REG ROUNDUP:

Healthcare: An item on the 4:15 p.m. Federal Register caught our eye. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking recommendations and public input on how to "create a more flexible, streamlined approach to the regulatory structure of the individual and small group markets."

This comes as Republicans are working to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has said he is also looking to change the healthcare system through regulatory action.  

Read the request for information here. It's open for comments for 30 days. 

Finance: The Trump administration has called for a "21st-century" version of the Glass-Steagall Act -- but the House Financial Services Committee chairman isn't interested.

The Glass-Steagall Act is a 1930s law creating a legal firewall between investment and consumer banking. And President Trump had campaigned for a "21st-century" version, though he never detailed exactly what that meant. 

"If you're attempting to ensure a financial system that minimizes that enhance of financial panics," the panel's chairman, Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), said dryly, "then in many respects, the Financial CHOICE Act can be your 21st-century Glass-Steagall."

Read Sylvan here

More finance (and more from Hensarling): The House Financial Services chairman also said he's considering seeking contempt of Congress charges against the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Hensarling said CFPB Director Richard Cordray has refused to turn over documents his panel requested for its investigation into Wells Fargo's sales practices. A report from the Financial Services Committee's Republican staff released Tuesday argued that Cordray's refusal was grounds to pursue contempt of Congress charges. 

More from Sylvan here. 

Transportation: The length of environmental reviews may be restricted in the Trump administration's $1 trill infrastructure package. 

It's part of an effort to streamline the project approval process. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, speaking at a Competitive Enterprise Institute dinner Wednesday, outlined some of the broad details of the administration's rebuilding proposal. 

Here's the expectation: that the plan rolls back regulations that can slow down transportation projects and streamline the lengthy construction approval and permitting process. 

The goal: to bring the approval time from as long as 10 years down to just two. 

Melanie Zanona has the report

Environment: An imperiled bird is getting a task force. 

The Trump administration is convening a group to consider changes to the Obama administration's policies to protect the sage grouse, a bird native to the American West. 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday that the team's goals are to evaluate whether the federal government's policies related to the greater sage grouse are compatible with state policies, whether they're beneficial for local economies and jobs and how they impact production of domestic energy.

What's a sage grouse you ask? It's a chicken-sized bird, whose population has dropped from millions decades ago to somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000 today, due largely to the loss of its habitat. 

Timothy Cama breaks down what the new task force means here. 

More environment: It was budget day on the Hill today, as several cabinet members testified on President Trump's fiscal 2018 blueprint.  

In his defense of the administration's budget, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the White House's request for his department is "what a balanced budget looks like" in the face of bipartisan criticism on Thursday.  

Members of the House Appropriations Committee subcommittee raised a handful of complaints about the $10.6 billion budget request for the Interior Department, which is 13 percent lower than current levels and slashes funding from programs members said Thursday they support.  

Read Devin Henry's story here. 

And even more environment: Here's some bipartisanship in the House -- a group of lawmakers has introduced a bill aiming to reduce pollutants with an outsized impact on climate change. 

The bill, from Reps. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and others would create a task forced to study ways to reduce pollutants like black carbon methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that contribute significantly more to climate change than carbon dioxide, the most plentiful greenhouse gas. 

The task force would "optimize existing efforts at various levels of government to reduce super pollutant emissions," according to Peters' office. 

More from Devin here.

Technology: The Federal Communications Commission is disputing a reporter's claim that he was "manhandled" by security personnel outside of an open hearing in May. 

John Donnelly, a reporter for CQ Roll Call, said after the incident on May 18 that security officers pinned him against a wall in the hallway when he tried to ask Commissioner Michael O'Rielly a question as he walked by.

In letters to Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) dated July 2, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said his security personnel had a different story.

Harper Neidig has the report

Labor: Labor advocates are slamming the Labor Department.  

They worry the department is taking the first steps toward weakening an Obama-era rule to expand overtime pay for some 4 million Americans. 

At a House budget hearing Wednesday, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said the agency plans to file a request for information and public comments on the overtime rule in the next two to three weeks.

"This signals they want to redo the rule," Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute said Thursday.

Read Lydia Wheeler's story here. 

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

SEC to hire Dalia Blass as top regulator of mutual funds (The Wall Street Journal)

Industry wants streamlined permitting process for broadband investment (Morning Consult)

Trump's plan to cut basic energy research finds an unlikely opponent: oil executives (Washington Post) 

 

Got a tip or a story idea? Send them over to rroubein@thehill.com and follow me on Twitter @rachel_roubein.