FEATURED:

Overnight Regulation: House to vote on repealing joint-employer rule | EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rule | Lawmakers urge regulators to reject Perry plan

Overnight Regulation: House to vote on repealing joint-employer rule | EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rule | Lawmakers urge regulators to reject Perry plan
© Getty Images

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Monday evening and both the House and Senate are in session this week. House Republicans are beginning a marathon markup of their tax reform bill, with hopes of getting it to President Trump's desk before Thanksgiving.

 

THE BIG STORY: The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill to rescind the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) ruling that made employers potentially liable for labor law violations committed by their subcontractors.

The Save Local Business Act, introduced by Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneHouse passes landmark bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy on Capitol Hill Democrat forces vote over GOP lawmaker's poster on House floor House GOP backs three-week funding bill MORE (R-Ala.), changes the definition of an "employer" in the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Under the new definition a company could only be considered a joint-employer with its subcontractor if it "directly, actually and immediately" has control over essential terms and conditions of employment.

Those include hiring employees, discharging employees, determining individual employee rates of pay and benefits, day-to-day supervision of employees, assigning individual work schedules, positions and tasks, or administering employee discipline.

Background... In 2015, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a company is considered a joint-employer with a subcontractor if it has "indirect" control over the terms and conditions of employment or has the "reserved authority to do so."

Business groups have been fighting to change that definition ever since, claiming it blurred the lines of responsibility in disputes over working conditions, wages and work they have no control over.

Franchisors in particular fought hard against the rule, claiming it threatened their business model.

On the other side... But workers' rights advocates say the GOP bill would only insulate corporations, including franchisors, from liability.

The National Employment Law Project claims the bill undermines protections for millions of workers, especially those in low-wage sectors where subcontracting is common, and wage theft and other workplace dangers are prevalent.

Read more from The Hill's Lydia Wheeler here

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY

Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators call for probe into US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics after abuse scandal Trump officials take heat for declining Russia sanctions Schumer to Trump administration: Who met with Putin's spy chief? MORE (D-N.H.) and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb speak at The Hill's event on the opioid epidemic. Click here for more information.

The House Committee on Natural Resources holds a meeting to discuss legislation overhauling energy policy on federal lands.

A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on "Federal Reserve reform proposals."

A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing in their series on sustainable housing finance.

The House Committee on Natural Resources holds an oversight hearing for Puerto Rico's Financial Oversight and Management Board.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a hearing to look at nominees for the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWATCH: Dems say Trump will look like he has something to hide if he avoids Muller interview House funding bill includes bipartisan Medicare reforms Trump approves Indiana Medicaid work requirements MORE (D-Ore.) speaks at the Tax Policy Center.

The House Small Business Committee holds a hearing on investing in small businesses.

Outgoing Fed Chairwoman Janet L. Yellen and former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke speak at the 2017 Paul H. Douglas Award For Ethics in Government event.

 

REG ROUNDUP

Health care: The White House is reportedly preparing an executive order to weaken ObamaCare's individual mandate in the event congressional Republicans don't include the measure in the tax-reform bill.

According to the Washington Examiner and The Washington Post, the draft executive order would seek to broaden the "hardship exemptions" to the requirement that taxpayers must demonstrate proof of insurance or pay a fine.

The White House denies such an order exists, and told The Hill when asked for comment that any changes to the mandate are best made by Congress.

The penalty for not having insurance is written into law and enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, which means that only Congress has the power to repeal it.

President Trump and some congressional Republicans have been pushing to include a repeal of the mandate in the GOP's tax bill. House leaders were initially reluctant to include such a provision because of the political risk, but momentum is building.

Read more here.

 

Energy: Several House lawmakers, including a Republican, are urging regulators to ignore Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Feds sued over fracking rule repeal | Perry says US ‘blessed’ with fossil fuels | Park Service gets new acting director Rick Perry: US 'blessed' to provide fossil fuels to the world New DOE competition aims to jump-start US solar manufacturing MORE's plan to overhaul the electricity sector.

In comments published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday, the House members came out against Perry's proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants through higher payments for the power they generate. The proposal is designed to boost the reliability and resilience of the electric grid by supporting traditional sources of large amounts of electricity.

In one comment, Reps. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) told the FERC the 60-day timeline they have for ruling on the proposal is too short for an issue as "remarkably complex" as electricity sector payments.

In a second letter, 14 Democrats said Perry's proposal dismisses the role renewable power plays in supporting the reliability of the electric grid.

Read more here.

 

Energy: Congress's watchdog agency is examining whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated legal provisions prohibiting lobbying and propaganda using agency resources.

At issue is a video produced by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, in which EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Regulation: EPA sued over water rule delay | House passes bill to ease ObamaCare calorie rule | Regulators talk bitcoin | Patient groups oppose FDA 'right to try' bill Overnight Energy: US projected to be net energy exporter | Water rule lawsuits roll in | GOP chair challenges cancer agency over pesticides States, greens sue Trump over Obama EPA water rule delay MORE participated. The video told NCBA members to file comments with the agency on its proposal to revise former President Obama's controversial Clean Water Rule.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) told Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioWATCH: Dem rep: Trump's SOTU seemed 'reasonable,' but wait until 'his Adderall wears off' Trump calls for infrastructure plan of 'at least' .5T Trump gets chance to sell nation on rebuilding plan MORE (D-Ore.) last week, in a letter he made available late Friday, that it agreed with his request to look into the matter.

The EPA is prohibited by appropriations legislation from using its resources to lobby Congress on ongoing legislative matters or to fund propaganda.

Read more here

 

Environment: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won't yet say which areas of the country do not meet the Obama administration's 2015 regulation on ozone.

The agency certified Monday that 2,646 counties, two tribal areas and five territories, or about 85 percent of the nation's counties, meet the new standard of 70 parts per billion of ozone in ambient air, down from the previous 75 parts per billion.

But officials said they would not yet declare the areas of "nonattainment," places that exceed the new limit, because they are "not yet prepared."

The EPA was required under the Clean Air Act to make all the decisions by Oct. 1.

"In the spirit of cooperative federalism, EPA will continue to work with states and the public to help areas with underlying technical issues, disputed designations, and/or insufficient information," it said in a statement.

Read more here.

 

Health care: Language in the 2018 defense policy bill could give the Defense Department (DOD) power over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve drugs and medical devices for soldiers, a potential shake-up that Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials are pushing back on, Politico reported on Monday.

The Senate's version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would allow the Pentagon to sign off on unapproved medical devices and drugs for emergency use on military personnel. Such language would allow the Defense Department to sidestep the FDA, which now has sole authority to approve devices and drugs for emergency use.

Read more here.

 

Tech: Chip manufacturer Broadcom is proposing a $130 billion deal to purchase Qualcomm in what would be one of the biggest tech mergers in history.

On Monday, Broadcom made an unsolicited offer to pay $70 per share to buy its rival. For every share, the company would pay $60 in cash and $10 in Broadcom stock.

"This complementary transaction will position the combined company as a global communications leader with an impressive portfolio of technologies and products," Broadcom CEO Hock Tan said in a statement.

Such a massive deal has the potential to invite scrutiny from regulators, but Tan said in a letter to Qualcomm that he was confident that the transaction would not raise any red flags for antitrust enforcers.

Read more here.

 

Environment: An environmental group and two Pennsylvania children have sued the Trump administration over the federal government's approach to climate change.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Pennsylvania, alleges the U.S. is using "junk science" to roll back policies designed to limit the impact of climate change.

It comes from the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council and two "child plaintiffs who have been personally impacted by climate change," because one has asthma and another lived through Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.

Read more here.

  

Finance: The House is expected to vote within days on a bill renewing the federal flood insurance program after Republican leaders struck a deal over planned rate increases.

The House Rules Committee held a hearing late Monday afternoon on an updated bill to extend and overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Rules panel is the last stop for legislation before the House floor, meaning the new NFIP renewal bill could get a vote within days.

Lawmakers have been negotiating over fixes to the NFIP for several months, with the program facing a December deadline for its renewal. Republicans have sought to downsize the federal program, which has ballooning debt, in hopes of fostering a private market for flood insurance.

Democrats have been open to more flood insurance privatization but have also pushed back on some GOP efforts to reduce the program's cost and raise premiums.

Read more here

 

Free speech: Law professors are accusing President Trump of acting like a dictator by blocking critics from his Twitter account.

Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of seven professors Monday in support of the Columbia Knight First Amendment Institute's lawsuit challenging Trump's ability to block opponents from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed.

The group, which includes Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, said "such practices are a familiar playbook for authoritarian regimes."

"False impression that political leaders are adored by the public is critical to warping the public's understanding of how those leaders are really viewed by the public and, in turn, to quashing democratic impulses," they wrote.

Read more here

 

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Fed's Dudley warns against overly aggressive regulation rollback (The Wall Street Journal)

US probes three banks links to Mozambique debt (The Wall Street Journal)

SEC questions Miami firm about Guggenheim ties (The Wall Street Journal)

Cargill Inc to pay $10M for inaccurate swaps information (Reuters)

FDA approves Roche drugs for rare types of blood, lung cancers (Reuters)

Under Powell, Wall Street expects steady wins on regulation (Bloomberg)

Airbnb eyes '6-figure' Nashville ad buy amid regulation push (Associated Press)