Overnight Regulation: Dems push gun reforms after Las Vegas | Supreme Court begins term with workers' rights case | Senate reconfirms FCC chief | SEC breach exposed personal data

Overnight Regulation: Dems push gun reforms after Las Vegas | Supreme Court begins term with workers' rights case | Senate reconfirms FCC chief | SEC breach exposed personal data
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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 Monday evening where the nation's attention is on the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

 

THE BIG STORIES:

Gun control: Democrats, joined by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), are amplifying their calls for tougher gun laws in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Democrats on Monday quickly intensified their campaign after a gunman targeted an outdoor country music festival on the Las Vegas strip Sunday night, leaving at least 58 people dead and 500 others injured. The lawmakers have pressed for years for tighter gun restrictions, only to have those efforts beaten back on Capitol Hill, largely by Republicans, who are near-universally opposed to such changes. 

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"I am praying for the victims of this shooting, their families and friends," Giffords, who was almost killed after being shot in the head at a campaign event in Tucson in 2011, said on Monday. "But I am praying for my former colleagues, our elected leaders, too. I am praying they find the courage it will take to make progress on the challenging issue of gun violence."

Other Democrats were much more forceful.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response Biden tells CNN town hall that he has benefited from white privilege MORE tweeted that "there's no excuse for inaction." Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he's "furious" that Congress "refuses to act." And Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocratic senator calls for 'more flexible' medical supply chain to counter pandemics The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon GOP chairman to release interim report on Biden probe 'in about a week' MORE (D-Conn.) urged Congress to "get off its ass and do something."

Sunday night's shooting, the deadliest in U.S. history, quickly consumed Capitol Hill Monday, upending a week that had promised a focus on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and GOP efforts to build a wall along the southern border.

Read more from The Hill's Mike Lillis here

 

New Supreme Court term: The Supreme Court began a new term on Monday with a blockbuster docket of cases touching on civil rights, free speech, presidential power, redistricting and privacy rights.

The court has agreed to hear 43 cases so far, including a challenge to mandatory union fees in the public sector. The justices are likely to take up even more cases on Monday.

But court watchers may never get to hear arguments in two of the most closely watched cases of the term.

The court canceled arguments scheduled for Oct. 10 in two cases challenging President Trump's travel ban after the White House issued new, targeted restrictions on travelers from eight countries.

The justices have asked the parties in the travel ban case to submit additional briefs on how the new order impacts the current cases before the court. Arguments could be rescheduled, but what the court will decide to do remains unclear.

It will be also be Justice Neil Gorsuch's first full term on the bench.

Lydia Wheeler has the details on what to expect this term here.

 

Monday's big case: The Supreme Court appeared divided Monday in the first case of the new term challenging whether employers can strip employees of their right to join together and settle disputes through a class-action lawsuit or arbitration proceeding.

In a trio of cases involving wage and hour disputes, the court grappled with whether employment contracts with clauses that force workers to settle disputes individually with an arbitrator violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

The law gives employees the right to bargain collectively and "engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection."

 The liberal wing of the court appeared unconvinced by the employers' argument that these clauses, known as arbitration agreements, are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.

"The respondents claim arbitration agreements providing for individual arbitration that would otherwise be enforceable under the [Federal Arbitration Act] are nonetheless invalid by operation of another federal statute," said former solicitor general Paul Clement, who represented the employers in three cases -- Wisconsin-based software company Epic Systems Corp., accounting and financial firm Ernst & Young LLP, and Murphy Oil USA Inc.

Clement argued that the NLRA only protects the employees' rights to engage in concerted activity in the workplace, not in court.

But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said not being in the courthouse isn't the issue.

"These employees say we don't object to arbitration, but what we object to is the one-on-one, the employee against the employer," she said.

"And the driving force of the NLRA was the recognition that there was an imbalance, that there was no true liberty of contract, so that's why they said, in the NLRA, concerted activity is to be protected against employer interference," she said.

Here are the details.

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection holds a hearing entitled "Oversight of the Equifax Data Breach: Answers for Consumers." The company's former CEO will testify.

The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection holds a hearing examining DHS's cybersecurity mission.

A House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee holds a hearing on "Powering America: Defining Reliability in a Transforming Electricity Industry."

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

 

REG ROUNDUP

Tech: The Senate on Monday voted 52-41 to confirm Ajit Pai to another term as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Democrats vocally opposed his confirmation, hammering him in a series of floor speeches over his efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations, in particular the net neutrality rules.

"The FCC is tasked with the critical role of protecting consumers and promoting innovation in the telecommunications and technological fields that are becoming more and more integral to our day to day lives," Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by 'downplaying progress' on election security Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt Schumer lashes out at Trump over 'blue states' remark: 'What a disgrace' MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement ahead of the vote.

"However, over his time at the FCC and particularly in his tenure as Chairman so far, Mr. Pai has established a clear record of favoring big corporations at the expense of consumers, innovators, and small businesses."

But Republicans who control the chamber were behind Pai, who was in no danger, needing only a simple majority for confirmation.

Read more here.

 

Hacking: Hackers accessed the personal information of two individuals by breaching the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) electronic filing system in 2016, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton revealed Monday.

Clayton said in a Monday statement that hackers accessed the birthdates and Social Security numbers of two people by breaching the SEC's EDGAR electronic filing system, through which publicly traded companies make public and private disclosures about their financial affairs.

The two individuals have been contacted and provided with identity theft prevention and assistance, Clayton said.

SEC officials previously said that no personal information was revealed during the breach, making Monday's revelation a notable change in the nature of the hack. Officials think the hackers may have profited by trading on insider information stolen from the EDGAR system.

Read more here.

 

Gerrymandering: Arnold Schwarzenegger is adding some star power to an Oct. 3 rally in front of the Supreme Court against gerrymandering.

California's former Republican governor is poised to address the crowd on Tuesday before oral arguments begin in Gill v. Whitford, a case focused on the Wisconsin map that the Badger State's Republican-controlled legislature enacted in 2011. A federal district court panel later ruled that the map was an unconstitutional political gerrymander.

Schwarzenegger, 70, has been a longtime advocate against gerrymandering.

Read more here

 

Taxation: One hundred organizations, including a number of progressive groups and labor unions, are urging Congress to reject a major international tax change proposed in Republicans' framework for a tax overhaul.

In a letter dated Monday, the groups speak out against the framework's move toward a "territorial" tax system that would largely exempt American companies' foreign profits from U.S. tax.

"It is an incredibly bad idea," wrote the groups, which include the AFL-CIO, Americans for Tax Fairness and the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition.

Read more here

 

Digital currencies: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is charging two companies for defrauding investors through initial coin offerings (ICOs) -- a new method for raising capital with cryptocurrencies.

The SEC says that Maksim Zaslavskiy and his companies have been selling unregistered securities to investors and allege that the digital tokens he offered don't exist.

Investors in Zaslavskiy's company's REcoin Group Foundation and DRC World (also referred to as Diamond Reserve Club) were told that they could expect significant returns on their investments while both companies were not actually in operation, according to the SEC's complaint.

Zaslavskiy allegedly billed REcoin as "The First Ever Cryptocurrency Backed by Real Estate" and told investors that the company had a "team of lawyers, professionals, brokers and accountants" to facilitate the investments. The SEC alleges that no such professionals were actually hired. With REcoin, Zaslavskiy was able to raise between $2 million and $4 million.

Read more here

 

Private jets: The Interior Department's office of inspector general is investigating Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeTrump extends Florida offshore drilling pause, expands it to Georgia, South Carolina Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention Trump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet MORE's use of chartered planes, a department spokesperson confirmed.

Nancy K. DiPaolo, spokeswoman for Interior's inspector general's office, said the office began its investigation into the use of the chartered jets late last week.

Politico, which also broke the news of the inspector general's investigation, first reported last week that Zinke and his aides had taken multiple flights on chartered or military planes to travel to his home state of Montana, as well as to travel to events between two Caribbean islands.

He also used a military plane in August to survey wildfires in Montana with Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerduePerdue has found the right path in National Forests Democrats seek clarity on payroll tax deferral for federal workers USDA extending free meals for kids through end of the year if funding allows after criticism MORE. Both agencies plan to reimburse the Air Force for the use of the plane.

Read more here.

 

Climate change: More than 6 in 10 Americans believe that climate change is a problem that the federal government needs to address, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted in August by The Associated Press-NORC Center and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, found a large majority of Americans in both major parties believe that climate change is happening.

But Americans' opinions are less clear when it comes to what action they feel should be taken.

Just 51 percent of respondents were willing to pay $1 a month to combat global warming, a figure that dropped to 18 percent when the prospective monthly fee increased to $100.

Read more here.  

  

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Reuters: European telecoms companies' hopes of lighter regulation dashed by EU

Bloomberg: AIG finds 'safer harbor' after years of retrenchment, regulation

 

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