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OVERNIGHT REGULATION: GOP lawmakers launch bid to remake labor board

It’s Tuesday night in Washington, where the home town baseball club is just one win away from becoming division champions. Before turning your attention to the Nats game in Atlanta, catch up on all the day’s biggest regulatory and enforcement news here at The Hill’s OVERNIGHT REGULATION.

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THE BIG STORY

A pair of top Senate Republicans is proposing a major overhaul of the National Labor Relations Board saying the regulatory agency has become a political tool with allegiance to whichever party occupies the White House.

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The legislative push from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks GOP senators back Christian school's push for COVID-19 carve-out Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderMcConnell chokes up saying goodbye to 'friend' Lamar Alexander in floor speech Mark Kelly sworn in to Senate seat Longtime GOP lawmaker urges Senate to restore itself in farewell speech MORE (R-Tenn.) comes amid mounting GOP concerns about the NLRB’s agenda under President Obama.

The Republican angst centers on a series of rules and decisions issued in recent months, including a decision in favor of “micro-union” status for certain Macy’s employees, requirements that corporations supply union workers with personal information about workers and a recent finding that McDonald’s has joint employer status over workers at the mega-chain’s stores.

“They’re coming right at you,” House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerMcCarthy woos Freedom Caucus with eye on Speakership Feehery: How GOP takes back the House in two years Warren, Brown voice support for controversial Biden budget office pick MORE (R-Ohio) told the International Franchise Association Tuesday. “They’re going to do everything they can to try to change the rules and try to find a way to organize your businesses.” http://j.mp/1wosYsn

The McConnell-Alexander bill is meant to turn the NLRB “from advocate to umpire” on labor issues.

-- Here’s what the NLRB Reform Act would do:

1. New structure: The bill would replace the current five-member board with a 6-person panel made up at all times of three Democrats and three Republicans, meaning bipartisan agreement would be required for the approval of regulations and decisions. The model is not without precedent. The Federal Election Commission employs such a leadership structure, though that agency is often maligned as dysfunctional and only last week reached accord on proposed regulations required by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. http://j.mp/X2tShC

2. Judicial review: The bill would allow parties named in actions approved by the NLRB’s general counsel to challenge the complaints in federal court, and would be granted new discovery rights in the cases.

3. Incentive to act: The legislation seeks to speed up resolution of labor disputes with language that would slash 20 percent of the board’s funding if it fails to clear 90 percent of its cases within a year after the changes are imposed.

Asked whether reduced resources might have the opposite effect, Alexander said his experience suggested otherwise.

“Usually if you know your going to lose your funding, it gets your attention and you get things done,” he said.

 

ON TAP FOR TUESDAY

Congress is in session as the House continues to grapple with a must-pass stopgap funding bill standing in the way of their departure from Washington until after the elections.

Obama is headed to Tampa for an ISIS briefing from commanders at CENTCOM, before returning to Washington tomorrow evening.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is expected to vote to confirm NLRB nominee Sharon Block.  Block was among the labor board’s members whose appointments were found unconstitutional this summer by the Supreme Court. Republicans will oppose the nomination, but are outnumbered by Democrats who are standing behind Block — and the president. http://j.mp/1wcxPiQ

The House Financial Services Committee convenes a hearing on oversight of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Patrick Pinschmidt, the FSOC’s deputy assistant secretary will testify. http://j.mp/1s5zohY

The House Science Committee will get a chance to grill John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Acting Assistant EPA Administrator Janet McCabe during a hearing on the president’s climate initiative. http://j.mp/1r5ScLV

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 175 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register.

Here's what to watch:

--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will issue new rules for Internet retailers, requiring them to ship orders in a timely fashion and offer refunds for merchandise that has not been delivered within a month of purchase. http://j.mp/1wARRE2

The shipping rules are being expanded to include Internet retailers, but are already in effect for companies that sell through catalogues and over the telephone.

They take effect on Dec. 8.

"The rule prohibits sellers from soliciting mail, Internet, or telephone order sales unless they have a reasonable basis to expect that they can ship the ordered merchandise within... 30 days," the FTC writes. 

--The Department of Defense (DOD) is looking to put a stop to soldiers who provide information about military operations to filmmakers or act in movies like Act of Valor and Zero Dark Thirty without permission. http://j.mp/1yduzWA

The Pentagon will propose a rule that would require soldiers to seek permission from DOD before acting in a movie or divulging sensitive details about military operations to filmmakers. These rules would apply to feature films, television shows, documentaries, and video games.

“This rule addresses how military personnel may appear in entertainment media,” the Pentagon writes.

--The Pentagon will also issue new rules for people who apply for or hold DOD credentials. http://j.mp/1uRKQuC

-The Department of Justice (DOJ) may issue new rules for attorneys who offer to do pro bono work for illegal immigrants during deportation hearings to ensure that they do not later on charge their clients. http://j.mp/1mbTWCH

--The Library of Congress may issue new rules for copyright owners that would allow them to audit the royalty fees paid by cable and satellite television providers for their content. http://j.mp/1qVxPR6

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

GUNS: The NFL's recent string of domestic violence scandals is providing fodder for gun control groups that are pushing for tougher firearms laws, particularly for people accused of domestic violence. http://j.mp/1BK5tNi

VETO THREAT: The White House is threatening to veto GOP legislation aimed at reining in the government's regulatory authority. http://j.mp/YPWvjE

FAST FOOD: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is warning restaurant owners that the National Labor Relations Board is coming for them in an effort to unionize the fast food industry. http://j.mp/1wosYsn

ON CAMPUS: Federal regulators are demanding Corinthian Colleges forgive $569 million in student loan debt, alleging the school took advantage of students with "bogus" claims about job placements after graduation. http://j.mp/1qcXBv5

WAGES: The Labor Department is ordering oil and gas company Shell to pay thousands of employees $4.5 million in back overtime pay for attending mandatory meetings, Reuters reports. http://j.mp/1uFX1eX

SECURITIES: The SEC is fining dozens of trading firms $9 million for violating a securities rule, Reuters reports. http://j.mp/1o1cGQT

IKEA is recalling thousands of children's swings, after the Consumer Products Safety Commission says a child fell off and broke a leg, Reuters reports. http://j.mp/1ARul3g

BORDER CRISIS: The Obama administration says federal efforts have helped to dramatically reduce the number of child migrants pouring illegally across the Southwest border. http://j.mp/XeaiyV

 

BY THE NUMBERS

63,000: The estimated number of unaccompanied children that have attempted to cross the U.S. border this year.

400: Roughly, the number of children detained daily at the height of the crisis this spring.

50: The approximate number now traversing the border now, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

500: The percentage increase in the chances a woman embroiled in a domestic violence situation will be killed if there is a gun present, according to the group Americans for Responsible Solutions.

6,410: The number of women killed with a gun by an intimate partner between 2001 and 2012 – or more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, according to the group.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“On any given day, 16 of my members decide they’re going to go this way, and all the sudden I have nothing. You might notice I have a few knuckleheads in my conference.” – BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerMcCarthy woos Freedom Caucus with eye on Speakership Feehery: How GOP takes back the House in two years Warren, Brown voice support for controversial Biden budget office pick MORE to the IFA on his need for a larger House majority.

 

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.