Overnight Regulation

OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Rule-making reforms head to House floor

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of rules from Capitol Hill and beyond. It’s Tuesday evening here in Washington and Republicans have moved a number of bills to the floor that opponents say attack the federal rule making process. 


The House Rules Committee voted 6-2 Tuesday to move two bills to the floor that will alter the rule making process for federal agencies. 

{mosads}The first bill, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, which passed by a 19-8 vote in the Judiciary Committee last week, will force federal agencies to calculate the indirect, as well as direct costs, of proposed rules. 

The second bill has already garnered threats of a presidential veto. 

The Office of Management and Budget said if H.R. 50 – The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2015 – were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill. The office said the legislation would introduce needless uncertainty into agency decision-making and undermine the ability of agencies to provide critical public health and safety protections.  

The bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) aims to give the public and Congress more information about how much an unfunded federal mandate would cost and what impact it would have on the economy.

Though hailed as a bipartisan bill that’s passed the House before, not all Democrats are on board. 

“It was a bad idea then and it’s a bad idea now,” said Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr. (D-Mo.). 

“The bill will impose numerous new requirements that slow down the regulatory process,” he added. 

During the hearing, Foxs said she was disappointed to hear Clay imply that her bill is an anti-regulatory bill. 

“Mr. Clay, I like you a lot but to say we’re anti-regulations is really unfair,” she said. “Republicans are not anti-regulation. We want regulations. We need regulations. We want safe food, safe products and safe cars.”

Foxx went on to call the bill common sense legislation that will close the loopholes of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) of 1995.

“Bureaucrats don’t want to do their jobs and be held accountable, so they have found ways to get around [the] original UMRA bill [that] has not been revised since ’95. That’s a mighty long time for legislation to be on the books and bureaucrats to find ways to get around the rule.”

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Congress should be working on other more pressing matters citing transportation infrastruction and legislation to help the middle class.

“I just can’t help but think we ought to be doing that than this, ” he said. 


The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the implications and unanswered questions for deferred action on immigration. http://1.usa.gov/1CsSD9j

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to discuss how to build a more secure cyber future. http://1.usa.gov/1CtbIbz

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing to discuss how vessel discharge regulations are impacting the shipping and fishing industries.http://1.usa.gov/1x87VbI

The House is expected to vote on the “Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2015. 

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will have a full committee hearing to assess the Administration’s sudden shift in its relations with Cuba. http://1.usa.gov/1Bvcq2s

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a joint meeting to discuss what impacts the Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Waters of the U.S. rule will have on state and local governments. http://1.usa.gov/168f1qb

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2015. http://1.usa.gov/1DC2Qxw


The Obama administration will publish 240 new regulations, proposed rules, notices, and other administrative actions in Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register.

–The Coast Guard will issue new oil pollution regulations for ships to bring U.S. laws in line with international standards.

The new rules will “minimize the amount of pollution produced by ships at sea and protect mariners,” the agency wrote.

The rules go into effect in 90 days. http://bit.ly/1BSUI9o

—The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue new test procedures for fluorescent lamp ballasts.

The fluorescent lamp test procedures will measure the energy consumption of any of these devices to determine whether they comply with applicable energy conservation standards.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy proposed the rule last October.

The changes go into effect in 30 days. http://bit.ly/1z8AvKJ

–The Energy Department will also consider new test procedures for whole-home dehumidifiers.

The DOE is proposing new testing for measuring the energy use of these dehumidifiers to determine whether they comply with applicable energy conservation standards.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/18L83JU

–The DOE will also consider energy conservation standards for high-intensity discharge lamps.

The Energy Department is reopening the public comment period, after it determined in October that new efficiency rules for these devices would not be “technologically feasible” or “economically justified.”

This comes after environmental groups requested the DOE take another look at the rules. http://bit.ly/1CXdNLq

–Finally, the DOE will consider more stringent energy conservation standards for commercial warm air furnaces.

The Energy Department is proposing new efficiency rules for these furnaces.

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1BSWLu6


Wash your hands: A Republican senator says the government shouldn’t require fast food workers to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. http://bit.ly/1EDGOxU

Immigration: A prominent House Republican says, “A sovereign country should never apologize for having a secure border anymore than this Congress apologizes for having metal detectors.” http://bit.ly/1vr0WRg

Jailbreak: Obama’s loose immigration policies amount to “the largest jailbreak in American history” for people living here illegally, an Arizona sheriff says. http://bit.ly/1u3ZnYh

Marijuana: President Obama’s $4 trillion budget carves out room for marijuana to be legalized in D.C., experts say. http://bit.ly/1HVKVYG

Drones: The Federal Aviation Administration is clearing eight more companies for takeoff with commercial drones. http://bit.ly/18LmAFb

Regulations: The White House is threatening to veto another anti-regulations bill from the House. http://bit.ly/1EEh3O2

Waters rule: The Environmental Protection Agency is chipping away at the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule, according to news reports. http://bit.ly/1zFDsaV

Financial crisis: U.S. regulators are fining credit rating firm Standard & Poor’s $1.5 billion for the role it played in the recent financial crisis, according to reports. http://reut.rs/1EDM98z

Manufacturers: The National Association of Manufacturers is slamming President Obama’s budget, arguing that it would slow the economy. http://bit.ly/1EEgFPo

College: Corinthian College will pay $480 million in debt relief to students who were lured in with expensive tuition and bogus job prospects, federal regulators say.

Power cords: The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is looking at new protections for indoor and outdoor power cords. http://bit.ly/1DCqTfH


24: The number of days before funding runs out for the Department of Homeland Security, if lawmakers cannot approve the agency’s budget.

10: The number of days during that time frame that House lawmakers will be in session before DHS funding runs out.


“We’re not building the Great Wall of Mexico,” — Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu.

We’ll work to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page (http://thehill.com/regulation) early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, tdevaney@thehill.com or lwheeler@thehill.com. And follow us at @timdevaney and@wheelerlydia.

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