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OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Biz to unleash assault on O-Care’s 30-hour workweek

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of regulatory and enforcement news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It’s Thursday evening in Washington, where – risk of October session apparently averted – Congress is headed for the exits, not to return until after the midterms. But we’re still here with all the day’s latest developments, and tomorrow’s emerging storylines.

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THE BIG STORY

First on OVERNIGHT REGS: A coalition of industry groups on Friday will announce a fresh attack on the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time employment. The campaign takes aim at the 30-hour threshold set out in ObamaCare’s employer mandate.

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The provision has roiled businesses and congressional Republicans who say the standard defies the conventional view that 40 hours on the job constitutes full-time work. Further, they charge, the looming rules have led employers to switch full-time workers to part-time schedules in order to avoid the cost of providing health insurance. 

The employer mandate, which generally requires businesses to offer health coverage, has been the subject of multiple delays. It will take effect in January for larger firms and a year later for more medium-sized companies – unless its opponents have their way.

— Here’s what’s happening.

1. Who’s behind the attack: 10 major business group’s, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Restaurant Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the International Franchise Association is launching the campaign, which they’ve labeled “More Time for Full-Time.”

2. What they’re saying: The groups plan to highlight the unintended consequences of the 30-hour definition on both employers and employees, putting a human face on the issue with a video to be circulated tomorrow. The goal: building public support for a return to the traditional 40-hour workweek in the mandate.

3. What they want: The coalition is backing Senate legislation that would amend the tax code to change the formula used to calculate a company’s total number of full time employees, and formally designate a full-time employee as one who works 40 hours a week. The coalition is urging its backers to write their congressional representatives, and is launching a website containing suggested language.

 

ALSO ON TAP FOR FRIDAY

Both houses of Congress are expected to recess Thursday night until after the November midterms, though some committees will conduct hearings Friday before lawmakers turn their full attention to Election Day.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will host Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research for a hearing looking at the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. http://j.mp/ZspiLm  

The hearing comes on the heels of Thursday’s White House announcement that President Obama is taking executive action to combat the problem, linked to tens of thousands of deaths a year in the United States. http://j.mp/1sx11KX

On Friday, Obama will participate in an event with the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, according to the White House.

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

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

Don't miss:

—The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will issue new rules for measuring the environmental impact at some nuclear power plants.

The environmental impact assessment will examine the effect of spent nuclear fuel that is stored in reactors which have expired licenses, looking at the onsite issues it may present, as well as any offsite radiological impacts it may have on surrounding neighborhoods. http://j.mp/1ATyHHc

—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay new ozone rules that clamp down on the aerosols used in refrigeration and air conditioning units. 

Earlier this year, the EPA proposed new restrictions on certain hydrofluorocarbons, which are often found in these aerosols, billing it as a win for the environment and human health.

But the EPA is now extending the comment period through Oct. 20. http://j.mp/1swSzLH

—The EPA will also make changes to a rule it published under the Clean Water Act to correct errors. The rule clarifies the test methods companies can use when applying for permits from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. http://j.mp/1wtrcGd 

—The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue new recordkeeping requirements for agency contractors whose employees risk being exposed to hazardous materials. http://j.mp/1swSMP3

—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may issue new rules affecting people with breathing problems who bring their portable oxygen machines on board a plane. 

These devices would face a new acceptance criteria that would standardize the approval process. Currently, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. http://j.mp/1qhK31y

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

FERGUSON FALLOUT: The Justice Department will examine racial biases in the nation's law enforcement agencies, following last month's fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. http://j.mp/YW2cwx

AIR CONDITIONERS: The Department of Energy is looking at new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners that are often found on the roofs of large buildings. These new rules for air conditioners would save consumers about $10 billion in energy bills through 2030. http://j.mp/1qhKBVa

WORKPLACE: Business groups are angry about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new rule requiring companies to report more workplace injuries that lead to an employee being hospitalized, requiring an amputation or losing an eye. http://j.mp/XNStaC

SUPER-BUGS: The Obama administration is establishing a new task force to combat so-called "super bugs," which are deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can no longer be treated with many common medications. http://j.mp/1sx11KX

EMISSIONS: Environmental groups are pushing the Obama administration to propose new methane emissions regulations in the oil and gas industries. http://j.mp/1p2HTna

TESTOSTERONE: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering new restrictions on testosterone drugs that are taken by more than 2 million men in the U.S., The New York Times reports. http://j.mp/1qhLqgI

WEIGHT LOSS: Federal regulators are fining a health and fitness company $3 million for false weight loss claims about the Ab Glider, Reuters reports. http://j.mp/ZspaLQ

GRAND THEFT AUTO?: Seven Japanese auto executives working in Detroit have been indicted by a federal grand jury for price fixing, allegedly conspiring to set prices for starter motors, alternators and ignition coils, Reuters reports. http://j.mp/ZspDgT

 

BY THE NUMBERS

23,000: The approximate annual number of people in the United States whose deaths are linked to antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

2 million: The number of illnesses each year linked to the infections.

$20 billion: The estimated cost of the “super bugs” in excess direct healthcare costs.

$35 billion: The estimated cost in lost productivity from hospitalizations and sick days.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We can't allow these tensions to go unresolved” – Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEx-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results Tyson Foods suspends Iowa plant officials amid coronavirus scandal Money can't buy the Senate MORE on the launch of a national review of police bias within the country’s police forces.

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.