OVERNIGHT REGULATION: GOP vows fight as pro-union rule takes effect

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Tuesday evening here in Washington and lawmakers wasted no time in getting back to business with a busy day of legislative action.

Here's a look at what's happening and what's to come:

 

THE BIG STORY

An Obama administration rule that speeds up the process by which employees can unionize took effect Tuesday, even as Republicans vowed a last-ditch attempt to block the controversial measure.

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GOP lawmakers introduced a new round of legislation Tuesday aimed at rolling back what they refer to as “ambush elections.”

The National Labor Relations Board rule could allow employees to organize a union in less than two weeks, compared to the previous average of 38 days between the time a petition is filed and an election is held.

While labor groups say this will prevent management from needlessly delaying union elections, Republicans say it will put businesses at an unfair disadvantage by not giving them enough time to prepare for union elections.

“Unions and employers deserve a chance to make their case on unionizing,” Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) said in a statement, “and employees deserve adequate time to consider the consequences of their decisions, but the ambush election rule unfairly rushes the decision-making process."

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act introduced Tuesday would prohibit unions from holding an election in less than 35 days. http://1.usa.gov/1aQbCiB

While the Employee Privacy Protection Act would protect employees from having their personal contact information shared with unions without their consent. http://1.usa.gov/1yrYtr2

These two labor bills come just a month after Congress voted to strike down the ambush election rule, but President Obama vetoed the measure.

The new labor bills show Republicans aren’t giving up the fight, but they don’t stand a much better chance this time around at escaping a presidential veto.

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to discuss IRS's challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. http://1.usa.gov/1ct3g1x

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will have a hearing to discuss serving students and families through child nutrition programs. http://1.usa.gov/1GOVJFt

The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the past, present and future of SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Program formerly known as food stamps. http://1.usa.gov/1ze8L9d

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act of 2015, modify the efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters and markup the data security and breach notification act of 2015." http://1.usa.gov/1yoVhfx

The House Judiciary Committee will meet to mark up the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015; the All Economic Regulations are Transparent (ALERT) Act of 2015; and the Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2015. http://1.usa.gov/1O73yqp

 

TOMORROW’S REGS TODAY

The Obama administration will publish 162 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions in Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register.

Here’s what to look for:

—The Department of Labor (DOL) will look into new safety standards for communication tower workers.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing a request for information as it considers how to prevent worker injuries and fatalities on these towers. This information could help OSHA develop future rulemaking.

“Communication towers are tall structures that carry antennas for wireless, cellular, radio, or broadcast television communications,” the agency writes. “Communication towers can range from 100 to over 1,000 feet tall.

"During the performance of work activities involving communication towers, workers are exposed to a variety of serious hazards, including fall hazards, hazards associated with structural collapses, struck-by hazards, hazards associated with worker fatigue, radio frequency hazards, hazards associated with inclement weather, electrical hazards, and cut and laceration hazards due to the use of sharp, heavy tools and materials," the agency added.

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

—The Labor Department will also propose new regulations for foreign temporary agricultural workers.

The proposed rules from DOL’s Employment and Training Administration would apply to nonimmigrant, temporary foreign workers, seeking to come to the country to fill seasonal jobs such as sheep herding and goat herding.

The changes would address the H-2A program for seasonal agricultural workers.

The public has 30 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1OxLqrL

—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will propose new reporting requirements for what the agency says is a cancer-causing chemical.

The toxic chemical known as 1-bromopropane would be added to a list of dangerous chemicals that face additional reporting requirements under the EPA’s proposal.

The EPA says the chemical “can reasonably be anticipated to cause cancer in humans.”

The public has 60 days to comment. http://bit.ly/1yoNXk9

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Chemicals: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned that a House proposal to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws could “delay evaluations for some of the most dangerous chemicals indefinitely,” a top official said Tuesday. http://bit.ly/1DfLgjU

Conversion therapy: Following a push from President Obama last week to end conversion therapies for LGBT youth, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution Tuesday that calls on states to ban the practice. http://bit.ly/1CKW063

Guns: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) could no longer collect racial data for gun transactions under new legislation in the House. http://bit.ly/1as7IMm

Sex parties: The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration is in the hot seat over allegations that federal agents engaged in illegal sex parties paid for by drug cartels. http://bit.ly/1E00Rr9

Tuna: The World Trade Organization (WTO) has sided with Mexico in a trade dispute over regulations for canned tuna labels. http://bit.ly/1ctqRzc

No-fly list: The Obama administration will begin telling some suspected terrorists if and why they are on the U.S. no fly list, AP reports. http://bit.ly/1ctrKrv

Veterans Affairs: A Veteran Affairs Medical Center worker in Indianapolis, who allegedly mocked veterans’ mental health issues, including suicide, has resigned, The Washington Post reports. http://wapo.st/1GHVb5y

Retirement: The Labor Department unveiled new rules for retirement advisers. http://bit.ly/1Hpma5a

 

BY THE NUMBERS

70: The number of countries where tuna is fished.

314,863: How many metric tons of tuna the U.S. imported in 2010.

$1.3 billion: The worth of that imported tuna.

(Source: World Wide Fund for Nature)

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“So these agents compromised our national security and then essentially got a vacation,” — House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah) talking about federal agents who were suspended for participating in illegal sex parties.