Overnight Regulation: Massachusetts AG sues Equifax | Trump weighs easing rules on gun exports | EPA nominee to fight worker safety rule in court

Overnight Regulation: Massachusetts AG sues Equifax | Trump weighs easing rules on gun exports | EPA nominee to fight worker safety rule in court
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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 Tuesday evening, and we're having serious déjà vu over in the health care world. Here's our newest ObamaCare repeal whip list. And here is a look at the risk and rewards of Republicans taking a vote on repeal without a CBO score.

 

THE BIG STORY

The Massachusetts attorney general is suing Equifax after the hack that impacted as many as 140 million Americans.

Maura Healey filed suit against Equifax on Tuesday, alleging that the credit reporting company ignored obvious cybersecurity vulnerabilities for months before hackers accessed people's personal information.

Healey, a Democrat, said Equifax "utterly failed to keep the personal information of nearly three million Massachusetts residents safe from hackers" and waited too long to disclose the hack.

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"We are suing because Equifax needs to pay for its mistakes, make our residents whole, and fix the problem so it never happens again," Healey said.

What the suit is seeking: Restitution for the 3 million Massachusetts residents whose information was exposed to hackers between May and July of this year, along with legal protection from fraud resulting from the hack. The suit also seeks to strip Equifax of corporate profits from the time of the hack.

Not the only one... Healey is one of several state attorneys general seeking action against Equifax. Her New York counterpart, fellow Democrat Eric Schneiderman, launched an investigation into the company last week. Both are considered rising stars in the Democratic Party and potential gubernatorial or Senate candidates.

Sylvan Lane has the story.

 

REGULATORY ROUNDUP

Firearms: The Trump administration is reportedly planning to ease rules on American manufacturers selling small guns and assault rifles to buyers overseas.

An administration official confirmed to The Hill that the State Department is working to move the U.S. government's authorization of exports of already commercially available, nonmilitary firearms and ammunition to the Commerce Department's jurisdiction, and keeping exports of military grade items under State Department jurisdiction.

Administration officials told Reuters that the proposed rule change, headed to the White House budget office in the coming days, would cut regulatory red tape, boost U.S. gun exports and create jobs.

Democratic Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report MORE (Md.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (Calif.) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign America isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Your tax dollars fund Afghan child rape MORE (Vt.) sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonOvernight Defense: Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital | Mattis, Tillerson reportedly opposed move | Pentagon admits 2,000 US troops are in Syria | Trump calls on Saudis to 'immediately' lift Yemen blockade Trump has yet to name ambassadors to key nations in Mideast Mattis, Tillerson warned Trump of security concerns in Israel embassy move MORE on Friday asking him not to make changes to International Trafficking in Arms regulations for small arms, light weapons and associated equipment and ammunition without carefully considering the consequences.

The Hill's Lydia Wheeler has more here.

 

Environment: President Trump's EPA nominee is fighting a worker safety rule in court.

President Trump's pick to lead air and radiation policy at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is slated to argue on behalf of industry groups in a federal court of appeals next week against an Obama-era rule protecting workers from being exposed to harmful silica dust.

As first reported by Politico, William Wehrum, a partner at Hunton & Williams, confirmed in a court filing Tuesday that he is arguing on behalf of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association and the Brick Industry Association against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) silica dust rule.

Read Lydia Wheeler's piece here.

 

Energy: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Tuesday to approve five of President Trump's nominees for energy positions in the federal government.

Senators voted to easily approve Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to be Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) members, Ryan Nelson to be the Interior Department's solicitor, Joseph Balash to be Interior's assistant secretary for land and mineral management and David Jonas to be general counsel at the Energy Department

The votes from the committee, led by Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments GOP on verge of opening Arctic refuge to drilling MORE (R-Alaska), send all of the nominees to the full Senate for a confirmation vote, which has not yet been scheduled.

Timothy Cama reports.

 

Environment: French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated Tuesday that the Paris climate agreement "will not be renegotiated," despite calls to do so from the Trump administration.

Macron during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly defended the 2015 climate accord, saying "we won't go back" on the agreement.

The French president added that he "respects" Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the climate deal unless he can get a better deal.

Background: Trump in June said he would pull the U.S. out of the deal, which envisions a 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. He opened the door to redoing the deal, though many world leaders have rejected that proposal.

Devin Henry has the story.

 

More environment: President Trump is not backing down on his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight 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 Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating Scott Pruitt's year of environmental destruction MORE said Tuesday that Trump has been "steadfast" in his decision, arguing that the deal is ultimately unfair to the U.S.

"The president has been steadfast, and I'd say the courage it took to stand in the Rose Garden in June and say to the world that he was going to put America's interest first and not be apologetic to the rest of the world," Pruitt said on "Fox & Friends."

Pruitt's comments came after The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that the Trump administration was reversing its stance on the 195-nation climate accord.

The White House immediately pushed back on that report, saying the president remained firm on his decision to withdraw from the compact.

Read the rest of Max Greenwood's piece here.

 

Transportation: Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Dems push for more money for opioid fight MORE (R-S.D.) says the House has to act first on a short-term aviation bill, but he hopes the lower chamber passes legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for as long as six months.

"The House will move one first because of the tax title ... I'm hoping they will send us a six-month extension," Thune, chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told reporters Tuesday. "We'll see what they decide to do with it over there and then obviously we'll process it over here."

The FAA's legal authority expires at the end of the month, but long-term bills to reauthorize the agency are stalled in both chambers.

Action needed: Now lawmakers will have to enact a short-term patch by the end of next week. House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) told The Hill last week that he wants the extension to last through 2017.

Read the rest of Melanie Zanona's story.

 

And even more environment: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said Tuesday his "red team-blue team" review of climate change science could take months to complete once it eventually kicks off.

Pruitt first raised the idea of a "back-and-forth critique" of the scientific consensus on climate change in June. The EPA plans to recruit scientists to take different positions on climate science and then debate the issue.

Speaking at the Concordia Summit in New York, Pruitt said details of the climate change debate are still under discussion, but he said he anticipates it being a government-wide effort involving the EPA, the Energy Department and other agencies.

Devin with the story again.

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

State Department tightens rules for visas to US (The New York Times)

Walgreens gets regulatory nod for slimmed-down Rite Aid deal (Reuters)

China widens bitcoin crackdown beyond commercial trading (The Wall Street Journal)

Too little, too late? China can't seem to get a grip on fintech regulation (The Wall Street Journal)


Send tips, story ideas and all the health care (and regs) news to rroubein@thehill.com and follow me on Twitter @rachel_roubein.