Overnight Regulation: Trump moves to shake up labor board

Overnight Regulation: Trump moves to shake up labor board

Welcome to Overnight Regulations, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and the courts. It's Tuesday evening here in Washington where Democrats took a trip to the Congressional Budget Office in search of the GOP healthcare bill. Read about it here.

 

THE BIG STORY 

Business groups are hailing President Trump intention to nominate attorney Marvin Kaplan to fill one of two vacancies on the five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The groups say Kaplan, who now serves as chief counsel of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, marks the first step in an expected shift in control from Democrats to Republicans.

If confirmed, Kaplan would be the second Republican on the currently three-member panel alongside Philip Miscimarra, whom Trump named as board chair in January.

ADVERTISEMENT
NLRB issued a series of controversial decisions during the Obama administration that angered business groups. Those decisions included: 
  • Changing the longstanding definition of a joint-employer 
  • Allowing unions to organize employees in so-called micro-unions
  • Allowing employees to speed up union elections

Business groups expect the labor board to be more favorable to their concerns under GOP control.

"Marvin Kaplan will begin to restore balance to an agency whose recent and radical decisions and disregard for long standing precedent have injected uncertainty into labor relations to the detriment of employees, employers and the economy," Kristen Swearingen, chair of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, said in a statement.

Find the full story here

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY 

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to discuss the MS-13 gang problem, its ties to illegal immigration and federal efforts to end the threat.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a business meeting to vote on the nominations of Neomi Rao to be Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and Russell Vought to be the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Environment will hold a hearing to discuss advances in environmental technologies. 

 

REG ROUNDUP 

Energy: Senators told President Trump's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that his request to cut 11 percent from the agency in 2018 isn't going anywhere on Capitol Hill. 

As The Hill's Devin Henry reports, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort How Senate relationships could decide ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Alaska), who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told Zinke she doesn't "expect many of [the cuts] to become a reality, especially those that target popular programs." 

Murkowski singled out proposed cuts to a royalty-sharing program for offshore oil drilling, though other senators raised concerns about funding for conservation and outdoor efforts like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the operations budget at the National Park Service.

"I find the budget so focused on the oil and natural gas aspect of revenue that I think that you are neglecting the fact that the outdoor economy generates $887 billion a year," Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellSenate energy bill is misguided gift to Trump’s dirty fossil fuel agenda Help states solve their housing problems with the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Time to pass the U.S. OUTDOOR Act to support American jobs and consumers MORE (D-Wash.), the ranking member, said.

"I want to make sure that we are putting pedal to the metal as it relates to the outdoor economy "

Read the full story here

 

Energy: Environmentalists and Democrats levied new criticisms Tuesday against the Trump administration's approach to methane regulations.

A group of 15 state attorneys general joined a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency that alleges the EPA does not have the right to delay an Obama-era methane pollution rule while reviewing it. 

The EPA is seeking to delay its methane rule for up to two years while it reviews, and likely repeals, the regulation Obama officials finalized last year.  

The decision has kicked up a legal fight between the agency and environmentalists. In a court filing last week, the EPA said federal policies give it the right to halt implementation of a rule while reconsidering it, something the agency is seeking to do with a limit on methane leaks at oil and gas sites. 

Greens who support maintaining the methane rule dispute that. In a filing of their own on Tuesday, they argued that the agency "issued the stay without even bothering to consider the serious and irreversible harms that befall … the broader public every day that the stay continues."

A coalition of Democratic attorneys general, led by Massachusetts' Maura Healey, backed up that position on Tuesday. 

The Hill's Devin Henry has more on the legal fight here.

 

 

Tech: A bipartisan group of attorneys general from 35 states is urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to protect their authority to investigate claims of false advertising over broadband speeds.

As The Hill's Ali Breland reports, in a letter to the FCC, the states asked the agency to reject a petition from the cable and broadband industry that seeks to limit their powers.

"The Petition represents nothing more than the industry's effort to shield itself from state law enforcement," the attorneys general wrote.

It's the latest salvo in a growing fight over how telecom companies market their broadband services.

In recent years, states have stepped up their investigations into allegations that broadband companies misled their customers about internet speeds.

Earlier this year, New York state sued Charter-Time Warner Cable, claiming they promised customers internet speeds the company knew they could not deliver.

The state probes have caught up other big names in the industry, including Verizon and Comcast.

But two cable and broadband trade associations, NCTA -- The Internet & Television Association, and USTelecom, have petitioned the FCC for help. Their petition seeks a declaratory ruling shielding companies that have met the agency's net neutrality disclosure rules from facing state probes over internet speed claims.

Find that story here

 

Transportation: A Senate panel has declined to include President Trump's controversial proposal to separate air traffic control from the federal government in a must-pass aviation bill, according to the committee's chairman.

As The Hill's Melanie Zanona reports, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (R-S.D.), who leads the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the Senate's long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not include the spinoff plan, citing the lack of support for the idea on his panel.

Instead, Thune said the House will have to take the lead on efforts to transfer the country's air navigation system to a private corporation.

"No, we don't have the votes to pass that in our committee at the moment," Thune told reporters on Tuesday. "We'll see what the House is able to do and we'll proceed accordingly. But if that issue were to get addressed, it would probably have to be on the floor in conference."

Thune added that final touches are being added to the bill, with a committee markup likely to happen "next week."

The FAA's current legal authority expires at the end of September, and lawmakers in both chambers have been crafting separate long-term proposals to reauthorize the agency.

Read more about the aviation agency bill here.

 

IN THE NEWS 

Petition urging DeVos not to contract with one student loan company gains 18,000 signatures 

Sessions praises Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 

GOP senator: ObamaCare repeal bill coming Thursday 

Senators pan Trump's proposed cuts to rural airports 

In just one year, nearly 1.3 million Americas needed hospital care for opioid-related issues – The Washington Post 

Your vitamin D tests and supplements are probably a waste of money – Vox 

 

Send tips, story ideas and dog memes to lwheeler@thehill.com and follow me on Twitter @wheelerlydia.