OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Barney Frank returns to defend reforms

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Barney Frank will offer a spirited defense of his namesake financial reform law Wednesday in his highly-anticipated return to Congress.

The former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts will testify before what's expected to be a hostile Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committee, which just four years ago pushed through the controversial Dodd-Frank financial reform law when Frank was chairman. http://j.mp/1wS7pyQ

Now, fast forward four years, and some critics say it is taking too long for regulators to implement many of the Dodd-Frank rules. In his testimony, though, Frank says the rules will soon be complete and faults Republicans for any delays.

"I share the frustration that many feel about the rate of progress in adopting regulations and implementing the financial reform bill," Frank says in written testimony. http://j.mp/1rI58WG 

"The rules will be completed—before any major crisis that they are intended to prevent, but later than they should be for the certainty that financial institutions deserve," Frank adds. "But the fault for that will rest with Republican(s)."

Republicans have repeatedly vowed to kill Dodd-Frank and now say they will try again if they win back control of the Senate in November.

Here's a look at some of the more controversial regulations that the GOP hopes to rollback:

-The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created by Dodd-Frank, is also a target of Republican anger. GOP lawmakers say the consumer watchdog is not transparent enough and should answer to Congress for funding.

-The Volcker rule places restrictions on proprietary trading, prohibiting banks from using federally-insured money from their clients to make trades on Wall Street. A study from the conservative American Action Forum says it will take a $4.3 billion toll on the economy. http://j.mp/1rpAZfJ

-“Systemically important” label: The Financial Stability Oversight Council's (FSOC) definition of systemically important financial institutions is also a point of controversy for Republicans and business groups, who say asset managers and insurers such as AIG, Prudential, MetLife should not be included. Financial institutions that are designated systemically important face tougher regulations.

-Blood diamonds rule: The Securities and Exchange Commission's conflict minerals rule would prohibit U.S. banks from financing the trade of conflict minerals, such as blood diamonds. But a federal appeals courts struck down parts of the rule earlier this year, because it determined it wasn't constitutional. The rule would have cost the economy $4.7 billion, according to the AAF study.



Both chambers of Congress are in session, as the Senate grapples with renewing funding for the Highway Trust Fund and the House inches toward a vote on the president’s request for emergency funding to address the Southwest Border crisis. 

President Obama will be raising money for Democratic House candidates at an event in San Francisco, before heading down to L.A. for a jobs speech and more fundraising.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to defend a draft rule meant to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent.http://j.mp/1tvT3UR

The agency’s rulemaking policies will also take heat from GOPers during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee looking at how to better reconcile federal rules with state regulations.http://j.mp/1A2bTYh

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will also wade into the regulatory debate over the dangers of worker exposure to coal dust with a hearing on the high rate of black lung disease among miners. http://j.mp/1kDFGwz

The House Education and the Workforce Committee convenes a hearing to look at forthcoming Obama administration regulations on overtime and minimum wage rights. http://j.mp/UggCos



The Obama administration will publish 186 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register. 

Highlights include:

-The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may issue new safety requirements for baby sling carriers.

The CPSC will propose new rules that it says would better protect young children, who sit in sling carriers that are fastened to their parents as they walk around.

The commission is looking to address safety concerns with sling carriers, after receiving reports of 16 baby deaths over the last decade, mostly caused when an infant slips out or suffocates from the device.

"The designs of infant slings vary, but the designs generally range from unstructured hammock-shaped products that suspend from the caregiver's body to long lengths of material or fabric that are wrapped around the caregiver's body," the agency wrote. http://j.mp/1pAXaMM

-The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will revive a rule that would allow the agency to garnish the wages of people who have not paid fines to the agency. The EPA issued the rule at the beginning of the month, before withdrawing it last week, and now resubmitting it as a proposed rule. The long process is intended to give the public a better opportunity to comment. http://j.mp/1qyrsF5 

-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may investigate smokeless tobacco products, which have been in the news lately following the passing of former baseball legend Tony Gwynn, whose death was linked to chewing tobacco. http://j.mp/UpVxrn

-The U.S. Copyright Office will review the effectiveness of the music industry's current licensing standards, as it considers whether to update the rules in light of new and emerging digital distribution platforms.http://j.mp/1r37Ip1 

-The Education Department will move forward with a plan to train professionals to work with people who have disabilities, including those who are mentally ill, blind and deaf. http://j.mp/1paCdK1



O-CARE SPLIT: Two federal appeals court delivered conflicting rulings Tuesday on the constitutionality of ObamaCare’s subsidies, likely fast tracking the legal challenges to the Supreme Court.

The D.C. Circuit – the second highest court in the land – struck a cornerstone of the president’s health care law, ruling that the statute’s premium subsidies are invalid in more than two-dozen states.  Another circuit court, though, upheld the law, saying that the statute gave the IRS permission to issue those subsidies.

The Obama administration signaled that it would appeal the D.C. court ruling, writes The Hill’s Elise Viebeck. http://j.mp/1rycrCP

CARBON CAPTURE: Efforts are underway around the world to improve carbon capture technology for coal-fired power plants as a way to reduce the effects of climate change. But faced with the expense, some power plant operators are likely to turn to natural gas, according to Henry Fountain of The New York Times.http://j.mp/1jTE8TS

CLIMATE PUSHBACK: Leading business groups are banding together to send the EPA a message: the agency’s power plant rule is “not workable,” reports The Hill’s Laura Barron-Lopez. http://bit.ly/1ucv2Gl

LOBBYING UP: The burgeoning fantasy sports industry is hiring very real federal lobbyists to ensure that their interests are protected in the debate over online gambling, The Hill’s Julian Hattem reports. http://j.mp/1nxXtLr

EXTINGUISHED? After more than a century, Tampa’s once proud cigar industry is in danger of being snuffed out by looming Food and Drug Administration rules, according to the NYT’s Lizette Alvarez.http://j.mp/1ryJR4c

BABY SLINGS: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is proposing new standards for baby slings.http://j.mp/1p79y5L



$21.8 billion: The annual cost to the economy of businesses and individuals complying with all of the Dodd-Frank rules that have been issued since 2010.

398: The number of regulations required by Dodd-Frank.

208: The number of Dodd-Frank regulations that have been finalized.

45 percent: How often deadlines to issue Dodd-Frank regulations have been missed.

--From a study by the conservative American Action Forum. http://j.mp/1rpAZfJ



“The legislation we supported in 2010 does create death panels. But they found them in the wrong place. The Federal Government now has the power to terminate the lives of large, heavily indebted financial institutions, not frail, gravely ill old people.”– Barney Frank on Dodd-Frank.


We’ll endeavor to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, via bgoad@thehill.com or tdevaney@thehill.com. And follow us at @ben_goad and @timdevaney.