Overnight Regulation: Trump focus turns to scrapping regs | FTC moves to block fantasy sports merger | Pelosi wants net neutrality hearing in San Francisco

Overnight Regulation: Trump focus turns to scrapping regs | FTC moves to block fantasy sports merger | Pelosi wants net neutrality hearing in San Francisco
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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 Monday evening, we're more than halfway through June, and the Senate is furiously working to get a healthcare bill done by the July 4 recess.

 

THE BIG STORY

With President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPatagonia files suit against Trump cuts to Utah monuments Former Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation MORE long gone, Federal agencies under Donald Trump are shifting their focus from writing regulations to getting rid of them. 

In just the past few days, the Education Department said it is working to redo two Obama-era rules aimed at reining in for-profit colleges, the Food and Drug Administration indefinitely delayed new rules to overhaul nutrition facts labels and the Consumer Product Safety Commission asked the public to suggest ways it can reduce the burdens and costs of its existing rules.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE said during the campaign that "70 percent of regulations can go," and he quickly issued a moratorium on new rules after taking office, bringing the work of regulators to a halt.

Though it's typical for a new administration to issue a regulatory moratorium, what came next was unusual.

Republicans used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn regulations that the Obama administration had finished in its waning days. The law gives Congress 60 legislative days to repeal a rule after it's been finalized. Before this year, the law had only been used once to scrap a regulation.

The Republican Congress managed to repeal 14 rules under the law before time ran out in May.

But now that the administration's moratorium has lifted and the window to repeal rules under the CRA has closed, agencies are turning to the only tool they have left for paring back rules: regular order.

To change or repeal an existing rule, an agency must follow the same steps that are required to issue a new rule under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Hill's Lydia Wheeler has all the details here

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will testify about his department's fiscal 2018 budget request at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is speaking at a Brookings Institute event on economic policy.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will testify on the fiscal 2018 budget request before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai will go before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee to testify on his agency's budget request.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will appear before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on his agency's fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

 

REG ROUNDUP 

Technology: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Monday that it will seek to block an attempted merger between two fantasy sports betting websites, DraftKings and FanDuel.

The FTC said that it has authorized legal action to prevent the merger between the two companies, which are the two biggest platforms in the online sports betting market. 

"This merger would deprive customers of the substantial benefits of direct competition between DraftKings and FanDuel," said Tad Lipsky, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition, arguing that each is the other's most significant competitor. 

The FTC said that the deal between FanDuel and DraftKings would lead to them controlling 80 percent to 90 percent of the market.

"We are disappointed by this decision and continue to believe that a merger is in the best interests of our players, our companies, our employees and the fantasy sports industry," DraftKings CEO Jason Robins and FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles said in a joint statement reacting to the FTC's decision. "We are considering all our options at this time."

Read more here.

 

Environment: President Trump is likely to nominate former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Jeff Holmstead to be the agency's deputy administrator, Axios reported Monday.

Holmstead is a partner at the law and lobbying firm Bracewell. Other potential contenders for the post have been ruled out, Axios said, citing two sources.

Trump has allegedly met with the former leader of the EPA's air pollution office under President George W. Bush and likes him, although no final decision has been made.

Holmstead would be relatively moderate for Trump's EPA. He has been in Washington for years and has lobbied on behalf of Arch Coal Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co., the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council and others before de-registering as a lobbyist in December.

Read more here. 

 

Environment: Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday that carbon dioxide emissions are not the "primary control knob" behind climate change, a statement at odds with nearly every major climate change researcher inside and outside the federal government.

Asked on CNBC's "Squawk Box," if he believes carbon dioxide is "the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate," Perry said no, and that "most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment we live in."

"This shouldn't be a debate about is the climate changing, is man having an affect on it? Yeah, we are," Perry said. "The question should be, just how much and what are the policy changes that we need to make to affect that?"

Read more here.

 

Environment: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear arguments in an ongoing legal fight between Chevron Corp. and Ecuador. 

Steven Donziger, an American lawyer representing Ecuador in its legal battle over environmental damage done in the country, had appealed a lower court's ruling that blocked penalties against Chevron in the case. 

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in August ruled that Donziger engaged in "bribery, coercion and fraud" after an Ecuadoran court ruled against Chevron in 2011. The Supreme Court on Monday formally declined to hear an appeal in the case 

The legal fight stems from Chevron's 2001 purchase of a subsidiary that operated in Ecuador.

Residents accused the subsidiary, Texaco, of environmental damage stemming from oil exploration in the Amazon rainforest in the 1990s.

The Hill's Devin Henry explains the case here.

 

Technology: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai not to repeal the agency's net neutrality regulations, and wants him to hold a public hearing on the regulations in her tech-heavy district.

"San Francisco is home to many people building apps, web services and internet-connected devices used locally and around the world," Pelosi wrote in letter last week that was released by her office on Monday.

"It's also home to many internet users who would be impacted by the Commission's proposal. It would be my pleasure to invite you and your colleagues to hold a Public Hearing in San Francisco to hear from my constituents on this important matter."

Pai has launched FCC proceedings to roll back the legal framework for the 2015 net neutrality rules, which require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

The Hill's Harper Neidig has more here.

 

Finance: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Mass.) called Monday for the removal of a dozen Wells Fargo board members over the controversy involving fraudulently opened accounts, according to a CNBC report

Warren called on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to remove the 12 board members, saying the bank has the power to do so under federal law.

"I urge you to use the tools Congress has given you to remove the responsible board members and protect the continued safety and soundness of one of the country's largest banks," Warren reportedly wrote in the letter sent Monday.

In September 2016, it came to light that Wells Fargo employees had set up fake accounts for many customers, racking up unauthorized fees.

The Hill's Olivia Beavers has more here. 

 

Courts: The Supreme Court on Monday sided with Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants in striking down a provision in trademark law that banned the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) from registering disparaging names.

In affirming a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court said the disparagement clause in the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment's protections of free speech in a case eyed carefully by fans of the Washington Redskins.

The provision in the law prohibited the PTO from registering trademarks that may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute any persons, living or dead.

Read more here.

 

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said on Monday that he is "thrilled" with the Supreme Court decision.

"I am THRILLED! Hail to the Redskins," Snyder said in a statement, CSN Mid-Atlantic reported.

The PTO canceled the Redskins trademark in 2014, saying the team's name and logo offended Native Americans.

The Redskins had asked the Supreme Court to take its case challenging the PTO's decision, but justices refused. The case is now before a federal appeals court. 

Read more here.

 

Transportation: Business leaders are coming out in fierce opposition to President Trump's controversial proposal to privatize air traffic control .

In a letter to House and Senate leaders on Monday, over 100 CEOs called for targeted improvements to the nation's air navigation system as opposed to separating it from the federal government.

The group, which includes a wide range of companies, such as Hewlett-Packard and Life Time Fitness, said their community depends on air traffic control to keep their businesses running.

Earlier this month, Trump called for transferring the country's air navigation system to a nonprofit entity, which would be governed by a board of directors comprised of users of the system.

The Hill's Melanie Zanona reports on the controversy here.

 

Labor: The Justice Department said Friday it will reverse its stance on a Supreme Court case, in which the department previously favored workers over management.

The Justice Department under the Obama administration had thrown its weight behind the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in the case, NLRB v. Murphy Oil, but the department is now weighing in on the side of Murphy Oil.

It is uncommon for the Justice Department to change positions in a Supreme Court case.

The case seeks to answer whether an employee agreement that makes employees wave their right to bring a class action lawsuit against their employer goes against the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Read more here.

 

Travel: Cuba's foreign minister delivered a blistering critique of President Trump's effort to crack down on the island nation, saying "we will never negotiate under pressure or under threat," the Associated Press reported on Monday.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said the harder line on Cuba will only foster more unity behind the communist government instead of achieving the White House's objective of weakening Raúl Castro's control. 

Rodriguez also flatly rejected Trump's demand that Havana return American fugitives who have received asylum in Cuba, saying the U.S. has no "legal or moral basis" to do so, according to the report.

After a nearly five-month review of former President Barack Obama's historic opening with the island nation, Trump announced a slew of new restrictions on Friday aimed at curtailing travel and commercial ties between the U.S. and Cuba.

The Hill's Melanie Zanona has more on Cuba's response to the changes here.

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS 

Elizabeth Warren tells the Wall Street Journal: Americans don't want less regulation

Op-ed from Grover Norquist: Let's rein in regulation while Congress takes up tax and healthcare reform

Financial Times: Businesses failing to prepare for EU rules on data protection

Bloomberg BNA: FDA says it will clarify digital health regulations

Bloomberg: Less stressful tests seen boosting US bank payouts by $30 billion

Supreme Court strikes down state law barring sex offenders from Facebook 

 

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