Obama unveils final regulatory agenda

Obama unveils final regulatory agenda
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President Obama has released the regulatory agenda for his final months in office.

The Unified Agenda includes rules and regulations that federal agencies plan to issue before Obama leaves office in January 2017.


Here’s a look at some of the top regulations that are in the works:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering nutrition labeling requirements for meat and poultry, organic food standards that would govern animal living conditions and horse protections.

• The Department of Energy is considering new efficiency rules for air conditioners, ceiling fans, computers and battery chargers.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is considering a smoking ban in public housing, providing transgender people with equal access to emergency shelters, and construction standards for manufactured homes.

The Department of Justice is considering firearms rules, including background checks for law enforcement officers applying for concealed weapons permits, easier access to firearms for non-citizens, and new definitions for pistols.

The Department of Labor is considering new paid sick leave requirements for government contractors, rules for preventing violence against healthcare workers, construction noise standards, and protections for shipyard and communication tower workers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering new rules for overdraft fees and payday loans.

Obama has sought to use executive power aggressively during his second term to bypass Republicans in Congress who are opposed to most of his legislative agenda. 

This week, the administration finalized a rule that will extend overtime pay to millions of workers who have not previously been eligible. The rule raises the threshold so that anyone earning up to $47,476 per year qualifies. Business groups have slammed the rule, and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) has vowed to fight it.

The overtime rule capped a busy period of regulating for the administration, as agencies sought to wrap up major rules early enough that they could not be overturned by the next administration.  

Last week, the Food and Drug administration issued a rule asserting the authority to regulate e-cigarettes and cigars, something it has never done before. The Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, set stronger standards for methane emissions.

The Labor Department has been especially active, finalizing the controversial “fiduciary rule” for investment advisers and a rule that will create an online database of workplace injuries and illnesses.

Lydia Wheeler contributed.