Overnight Regulation: EPA misses smog rule deadline | Search is on for new HHS chief | ACLU sues over abortion pill restrictions | Justices weigh gerrymandering

Overnight Regulation: EPA misses smog rule deadline | Search is on for new HHS chief | ACLU sues over abortion pill restrictions | Justices weigh gerrymandering
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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 lawmakers demanded answers from Equifax CEO Richard Smith on how a massive data breach occurred on his watch. Harper Neidig and Mallory Shelbourne have the story here

 

THE BIG STORY 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) missed a legal deadline to start implementing its regulation limiting ozone pollution.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Senate confirms top EPA air regulator | Feds to roll back emissions rule for big trucks | Defense bill mandates climate study EPA seeks to repeal part of Obama emissions rule for big trucks Senate confirms top air regulator at EPA MORE on Monday should have published his initial determinations on which areas of the country exceed the new, stricter standard on ozone, a component of smog that is linked to respiratory illnesses.

But the EPA did not release any information on the initial findings on Monday. An agency spokeswoman said Tuesday that she did not have any more information on the matter.

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In his last job as Oklahoma's attorney general, Pruitt sued to stop the 2015 regulation written under former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Russian social media is the modern-day Trojan horse Trump records robo-call for Gillespie: He'll help 'make America great again' MORE.

Pruitt tried earlier this year to delay the initial compliance findings for a year. But when environmentalists and Democratic states sued, the agency walked back and said it would meet the Oct. 1 deadline -- which was Sunday, but pushed to Monday for the weekend.

"Mr. Pruitt is showing a blatant disregard for the law by refusing to give Americans a full accounting of how much unsafe smog they're breathing. That's irresponsible. It's illegal," John Walke, clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

"It risks the health of millions of people and stalls required cleanup steps. And it's why we'll continue to use every tool available to make sure all Americans learn sooner rather than later -- or possibly never -- whether their air is dirty and endangering their health."

Timothy Cama has the story here

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY

The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing to look at the Securities and Exchange Commission's agenda, operations and budget. 

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will meet to mark up legislation to roll back the National Labor Relations Board's joint-employer definition. 

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to question Equinox Chairman and CEO Richard Smith about the company's recent cyber security breach. 

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the nominations of Michael Dourson to be assistant administrator for toxic substances, and Matthew Z. Leopold, David Ross and William Wehrum to be assistant administrators at the Environmental Protection Agency. The committee will also consider Jeffery Baran to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Stephanos Bibas to be a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; Liles Burke to be a district court judge for the Northern District of Alabama; Michael Juneau to be a district court judge for the Western District of Louisiana; A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. to be a district court judge for the District of South Carolina; Tilman Self to be a district court judge for the Middle District of Georgia; and John Demers to be an assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice.

 

REG ROUNDUP 

Next HHS chief: Speculation is swirling over who President Trump will tap to replace former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceDems look to gain ground in Va. House of Delegates Pruitt to address trade group at luxury resort Spring promises of partnership on health-care reform are growing cold for states MORE, who resigned last week amidst backlash over his use of private jets for government travel.  

As Peter Sullivan reports, health policy insiders see two current officials as perhaps the most likely candidates: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. 

Hard-line conservatives, however, are floating former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R).

Two potential candidates -- Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDemocratic Homeland Security members request additional DHS nominee testimony Key differences between the Senate and House tax plans Senate panel delays vote on Trump’s Homeland Security pick MORE (R-Wis.) and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThis week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul Dissent is democratic: Stop calling McCain, Corker, Flake RINOs The farm bill presents a chance to lighten the regulatory burden of farmers MORE (R-Wyo.) -- took themselves out of the running after their names were mentioned as possible candidates. 

The nomination of Verma could signal that Trump wants to keep up the intense battle against ObamaCare. The former health-care consultant was a key figure in efforts to repeal the law this year, making frequent trips to Capitol Hill to try to win over wavering lawmakers.  

While Gottlieb could be seen as a more pragmatic choice, signaling the fight over ObamaCare might not be front and center. 

Read the full story here

 

Legal battles:  The Supreme Court appeared hesitant Tuesday to issue a ruling that creates a standard for determining when states have engaged in unconstitutional gerrymandering, the process of drawing voter districts to increase the political power of one party over another. 

Chief Justice John Roberts said such a ruling would raise legal challenges to voter maps across the country that will inevitably make their way to the high court. Regardless of the standard created, Roberts expressed concerns that the public will view the court as favoring one party over another.

The blockbuster case, which centers on Wisconsin voter maps that were struck down by a lower court last year, has drawn national attention for its potential to reshape the political landscape.   

Democratic voters from 11 state legislative districts, led by lead plaintiff William Whitford, claim Wisconsin's Republican-controlled legislature drew the map with a discriminatory intent, violating their First Amendment right to free political speech and their 14th Amendment right to be treated equally under the law.

Read the full story here

 

Energy: The Trump administration wants to work more closely with industry in formulating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that affect those sectors.

The EPA announced Tuesday that it's reviving a Smart Sectors program to more formally cooperate with industries like oil and natural gas drilling, mining, steelmaking and agriculture for regulating.

It's part of the administration's efforts to be more industry-friendly while still protecting the environment, the EPA said.

"When we consider American business as a partner, as opposed to an adversary, we can achieve better environmental outcomes," EPA head Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

Health: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the FDA challenging federal restrictions they argue "significantly" limit access to abortion pills. 

Currently, a prescription for the abortion pill Mifeprex cannot be filled at a retail pharmacy.

Instead, the pill must be obtained from a clinic, medical office or hospital from a health care provider that has pre-registered with the drug manufacturer. 

These providers must also stock the pill on site and patients must sign a form to get it. 

"The abortion pill is safe, effective, and legal. So why is the FDA keeping it locked away from women who need it?" said Julia Kaye, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

Read more from The Hill's Jessie Hellmann here.

 

Tech: The European Union will order Amazon to pay several hundred million euros in back taxes on Wednesday, The Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The EU's enforcement arm, the European Commission, opened up an investigation three years ago into a partnership between Amazon and Luxembourg that allowed the e-commerce giant to shield some of its assets from taxation.

The Financial Times report did not say how much Amazon will be ordered to pay.

The fine would be the latest action Europe has taken to try to rein in American tech giants.

Read more here.

 

Cybersecurity: Richard Smith, the former Equifax CEO who resigned from the credit ratings agency last month, apologized Tuesday for the company's massive data breach that left the sensitive information of 145 million people exposed to hackers.

Harper Neidig has the details here

 

More on Equifax: Rep. Joe BartonJoe Linus BartonGOP lawmaker calls for vote on DREAM Act More than a dozen lawmakers put family on campaign payroll GOP chairman threatens to subpoena DEA over investigation into 'pill dumping' in West Virginia MORE (R-Texas) on Tuesday floated the possibility that credit-monitoring firms like Equifax pay consumers if their accounts are hacked, noting continual security breaches could mean hearings each year.

"We could have this hearing every year from now on if we don't do something to change the current system," Barton said to former Equifax CEO Richard Smith during his testimony in front of the House Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. 

Mallory Shelbourne has the story here

 

Environment: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's schedule has a heavy emphasis on top executives from companies that his agency is tasked with regulating, The New York Times is reporting.

According to the report, which is based on Pruitt's schedule between February and May, Pruitt held daily meetings and attended other working events with top industry executives.

He had few meetings with environmental and public health groups, the Times noted.

Olivia Beavers has the story here.

 

IN OTHER NEWS 

GOP may weigh a curb on modifying semiautomatic guns – Bloomberg 

GOP pushes late-term abortion ban toward House passage – AP 

Vatican urges online protections for kids amid porn scandal – AP

The gun lobby: See how much your representative gets – Politico 

 

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