Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules

Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules
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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 in Washington, and today Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersAP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Portland activist stages ‘reparations happy hour’ Conyers III won't appear on primary ballot in race to replace his father MORE (D-Mich.), the longest-serving member of Congress, resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations.

 

THE BIG STORY:

The Trump administration has begun a push to determine whether current federal firearms regulations should ban devices that allow gun owners to modify their weapons to increase the rate of fire.

The devices, known as "bump stocks," can be used to modify semi-automatic rifles to shoot hundreds of rounds per minute.

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The review being conducted by the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will look at whether a rule prohibiting the possession of firearm parts that are used "in converting a weapon into a machine gun" also applies to bump stocks.

"The regulatory clarification we begin today will help us to continue to protect the American people by carrying out the laws duly enacted by our representatives in Congress," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

At the heart of the review is the definition of "machine gun," and whether bump stocks can be considered components used to turn firearms into such weapons.

Why now: The issue of whether to ban bump stocks came to the forefront of the nation's gun control debate in October after a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas from his room in a nearby hotel using firearms fitted with the device.

The Hill's Max Greenwood reports.

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on regulation of firearm accessories, with an expected focus on bump stocks, and federal and state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

A Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee holds a hearing on "challenges facing Superfund and waste cleanup efforts following natural disasters."

 

REGULATORY ROUNDUP:

Environment: Two more national monument boundaries could shrink.

That's what Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Trump’s policies blasting at the foundations of conservation in public land law Watchdog: First lady spokeswoman may have violated Hatch Act with ‘MAGA’ tweet MORE is recommending President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE do a day after rolling back protected areas in Utah.

A Zinke-led study into national monument declarations says that Trump should shrink Oregon and California's Cascade-Siskiyou and Nevada's Gold Butte national monuments by small amounts.

Zinke is also recommending Trump change management plans for six other monuments, allowing for additional grazing, ranching, fishing, hunting and other activities in those locations. Zinke told reporters Tuesday he is "fairly confident" Trump will accept his recommendations.

Devin Henry reports.

 

More on the monuments...

The Navajo Nation and four other American Indian tribes said Tuesday they had sued President Trump to undo his action reducing the Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah.

The federal lawsuit, which the tribes had long promised, argues that Trump did not have the legal authority to remove more than 80 percent of the land protections that former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump has the right foreign policy strategy — he just needs to stop talking The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump faces bipartisan criticism over Putin presser, blames media for coverage Wall Street Journal editorial board rips Trump on Helsinki: It was a 'national embarrassment' MORE established in 2016.

"Through the Antiquities Act, Congress delegated to the president the limited authority to designate national monuments and retained to itself the power to revoke or modify national monuments," the tribes wrote in a statement.

Timothy Cama has the story.

 

Tech: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to go ahead with a vote on Dec. 14 to repeal the net neutrality rules despite calls from Democrats and advocacy groups to delay the proceeding.

The FCC said in a statement Monday that "the vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14."

In a separate statement provided to Ars Technica, the FCC hit back at those seeking a delay.

"This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman [Ajit] Pai's plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled."

More from Ali Breland here.

 

Finance: Republicans and a block of moderate Democrats advanced on Tuesday the most significant proposed changes to the Dodd-Frank Act with bipartisan support.

The Senate Banking Committee approved by a 16 to 7 vote a sweeping bill that would exempt dozens of banks from Dodd-Frank and loosen the rules imposed after the financial crisis on smaller firms.

Banking panel members from both parties sought to strike a bipartisan deal that would win the approval of both Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoDems call for hearings on Trump’s CFPB nominee to be put on hold Midterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Idaho) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Dems call for hearings on Trump’s CFPB nominee to be put on hold Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds MORE (Ohio).

After talks between Crapo and Brown collapsed in October, Crapo and the committee’s Republicans joined with nine Democrats to sponsor the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.

The bill would raise the asset threshold at which a bank holding company is considered a "systemically important financial institution" (SIFI) from $50 billion to $250 billion, and exempt all banks with less than $100 billion in assets from federal stress tests immediately.

More from Sylvan Lane here.

 

Energy: The American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading oil industry association, launched a voluntary program Tuesday for member companies to reduce emissions of methane and other pollutants from the natural gas sector.

The methane reduction effort is the first initiative from a group of 26 oil and gas giants, designed to cut oil-sector pollution and help the environment outside of government regulations.

An API release said the program, called the Environmental Partnership, is "a historic agreement bringing together American natural gas and oil companies of all sizes to take action, learn and collaborate in an effort to further improve our environmental performance."

Devin brings us the story again.

 

Finance: Major players in the financial industry hope for sweeping change at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) now that a staunch conservative is in charge.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWho watches the ‘watchdog?’ It's time for accountability for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump suggests China is easing pressure on North Korea because of trade fight | Mulvaney taps top aide as No. 2 at consumer bureau | House Republican to offer bill to curtail Trump's trade powers MORE was cleared to begin reshaping the CFPB when a federal court last week blocked an attempt to depose him.

While Democrats are fretting about the CFPB's future, banks and others in the financial services sector are eager for a new start at an agency they've long considered unaccountable and harmful.

Sylvan Lane reports.

 

Meanwhile ... the former director has launched his campaign for Ohio governor...

Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayLiberals view Kavanaugh as existential threat to consumer bureau Mulvaney appoints top aide as consumer bureau acting No. 2 On The Money: Strong June as economy adds 213K jobs | China blames Trump for 'biggest trade war' in history | Consumer bureau deputy to resign, end legal fight with Trump MORE, a Democrat who served as Ohio's attorney general before joining the CFPB, announced his candidacy at a diner in his hometown, Grove City, Ohio.

The former CFPB director had long been expected to run, but was barred by federal law from campaigning until he left the bureau. Cordray resigned from the CFPB on Nov. 24, two weeks after announcing his intention to leave.

Cordray cited his experience facing challenging "character builders" as CFPB director, Ohio attorney general and state treasurer in a video announcing his campaign.

More from Sylvan here.

 

Health care: A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing to examine the merger between CVS and Aetna.

In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenDominant internet platforms must disrupt themselves Hammond pardons raise fears of emboldened anti-government extremists Oregon ranchers pardoned by Trump fly home on Pence donor's private jet MORE (R-Ore.), the committee's ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneTop Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments FCC passes controversial rule changing how it handles consumer complaints Overnight Health Care: Dem demands details on Trump-Pfizer pricing deal | Why both sides agree nominee could shift high court to right on abortion | DEA gets more powers to limit opioid production MORE (D-N.J.) asked for a hearing on the merger as soon as possible.

"As the business of healthcare continues to morph, it is critical that Congress closely examine the changing relationships among healthcare entities and the impact these changing relationships have on the way healthcare is delivered in this country," Pallone wrote.

If approved, the $69 billion merger of the nation's largest pharmacy and third-largest health insurer could have major implications for the health care industry.

Nathaniel Weixel reports.

 

Supreme Court: The Supreme Court wrestled Tuesday with whether the First Amendment protects a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The case, which pits freedom of speech and religion against equality, could be pivotal in the fight for civil rights for LGBT Americans, and it's unclear in which direction a majority of the justices are headed.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the court's swing vote, seemed sympathetic to both sides. He said Colorado doesn't seem to be tolerant or respectful of the baker's religious freedoms but also suggested it's an affront to the gay community to allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Lydia Wheeler has the rundown.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Dallas hospital pays $7.5M settlement in alleged kickback scheme  (The Hill)

Zinke fires back at Patagonia over 'appalling ad' (The Hill)

New CFPB chief curbs data collection, citing cybersecurity worries (The Wall Street Journal)

Is it time to regulate bitcoin? (The Wall Street Journal)

FDA approves Novo Nordisk diabetes drug (Reuters)

Exxon takes climate-change probe fight to Massachusetts top court (Reuters)

UK proposes staying close to EU rules to unlock Brexit talks (Bloomberg)