OVERNIGHT REGULATION: Gun lobby claims victory for hunters

Welcome to OVERNIGHT REGULATION, your daily rundown of news from Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Thursday evening and we're getting ready for Nerd Prom, also know as the White House Correspondents dinner -- the one time each year when Hollywood and Washington collide and reporters get to party with celebrities. We're so excited that "Friday Night Lights" star Connie Britton is a dinner guest of The Hill. If only Coach Taylor was her real husband. "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."

Here's what else is happening:

 

THE BIG STORY

The gun lobby is claiming yet another victory over the Obama administration.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and top Republican lawmakers pressured the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Thursday to rollback a controversial policy that blocked hunters and sportsmen from traveling abroad with their guns. http://j.mp/1OiK2Nc

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This is the second time in the last month the gun lobby has pressured the administration to back down from a controversial gun policy. In March, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) shelved a proposal to ban certain types of armor-piercing ammunition.

"We are pleased that we have been able to reverse a bureaucratic nightmare that would have jeopardized the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners," said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's lobbying arm.

Two Republican lawmakers who control the funding Customs receives from Congress -- House Homeland Security Appropriations Chairman John Carter (R-Texas) and Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Chairman John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Overnight Energy: Trump rollback of Obama mileage standards faces court challenges | Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama greenhouse gas rule | Trump floats cutting domestic oil production MORE (R-N.D.) -- both pressed Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske to relent on the controversial policy.

The NRA's Cox said their work will "protect American hunters and sport shooters from a web of bureaucratic red-tape when traveling outside the United States."

Hunters will now be able to travel internationally with their guns more easily. Customs is withdrawing the controversial policy effective immediately.

"Until the chairman brought this up with me, I actually was unaware of the new protocol," Kerlikowske told lawmakers Thursday.

"It made no sense to me to continue down this path, and by this afternoon we will be changing our website and our information," he added.

In February, Customs began enforcing controversial export regulations that essentially prevented hunters from taking their guns and ammunition back and forth across the border. 

At issue were export regulations that Customs was applying to hunters.

Under the rules, hunters were required to register with the IRS as a business so they could provide Customs with an employer identification number used to track their guns.

However, the IRS refused to register the hunters because they were not legitimate businesses, in what has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare for many sportsmen, according to Hoeven's office.

After hunters protested, the NRA and Republican lawmakers demanded the agency withdraw the controversial policy. 

Hoeven said it is "not appropriate" for the agency to stand in the way of hunters exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Customs should "recognize the difference between a commercial exporter and a sportsman traveling on a hunting trip to Canada or another country," Hoeven said.

"Hunters should not have to register as a business with the IRS in order to bring their weapons and ammunition on international hunting trips," he added.

Hunters will now be required to fill out a paper form, but they will no longer have to provide an employer identification number.

 

ON TAP FOR FRIDAY

The House will not be in session. The Senate, however, will meet for legislative business.

The White House Correspondents' Dinner pre-party hosted by The Hill, Extra and the Embassy of Canada. Expected guests include ABC's "Nashville" star Connie Britton, CBS's "Elementary" star Lucy Liu and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs' Denver Replacement Medical Center, which has been at the center of an internal investigation following delays and huge cost overruns. http://1.usa.gov/1FhXUS6

The Health and Human Services Department will hold a meeting with software developers to discuss common ways to safely collect and report patient data. http://1.usa.gov/1HsXz0w

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

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

Here's what to look for:

--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue new conservation compliance requirements for farmers receiving federal funds.

Farmers receiving marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans or commodity and disaster payments would be subject to these new conservation requirements, the agency says.

The new rule goes into effect immediately. http://j.mp/1I10U5W

--The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will delay new health and environmental standards for uranium and thorium mill tailings, waste materials from mining.

The EPA proposed the rules in January, but will extend the comment period to give the public more time to consider the changes.

The public will have until May 27 to comment. http://j.mp/1Ewjzai

--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will issue new rules for scheduling interstate pipelines for natural gas transportation.

The new scheduling practices will improve reliability and efficiency, and "better coordinate the scheduling of wholesale natural gas and electricity markets in light of increased reliance on natural gas for electric generation," the agency says.

The new rule goes into effect in 75 days. http://j.mp/1OiDrSE

--The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will issue new restrictions on the sale of assets from a failed financial institution.

The revised rules will be consistent with the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The changes go into effect on July 1. http://j.mp/1INVM3r

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Paid leave: Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPelosi huddles with chairmen on surprise billing but deal elusive House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic GOP, Democratic relief packages B apart on vaccine funding MORE (D-Wash.) said she's pushing Republicans to include paid sick leave in a final budget deal. http://bit.ly/1Ejw9rw

Ethics: As the Supreme Court is gearing up to hear arguments Tuesday in what could be the nation's most influential case on gay marriage, Democratic lawmakers are calling on the high court to adopt a code of ethics for justices. http://bit.ly/1Gc3cud

10th Amendment: Republicans in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would empower states to challenge federal regulations. http://bit.ly/1QpiO5U

Consumer tracking: The Federal Trade Commission settled charges Thursday with a company that helped retailers track millions of customers via people's mobile phones.  http://bit.ly/1aW8hOO

Guns: The Obama administration will stop blocking hunters from traveling internationally with their guns amid mounting congressional pressure. http://bit.ly/1yUe0Qq

Same-sex marriage: Opponents of gay marriage are discussing strategy as the issue reaches the Supreme Court, The New York Times reports. http://nyti.ms/1zRG16s

Drugs: A Veterans Affairs medical center allegedly put patients at risk by swapping mental health medications with older drugs, The Washington Post reports. http://wapo.st/1DmBEBL

Pa.: A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to make it illegal to taunt a police officer, Huffington Post reports. http://huff.to/1Gc5KZj

 

BY THE NUMBERS

80 percent: How many voters say they want lawmakers to consider paid sick leave laws, according to a poll from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

45: How many retailers in 2013 were using tracking technology but did not inform their customers, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"I'm distressed at times by what I believe is an attempt by this administration to suppress, or to make more difficult, Second Amendment rights for Americans," -- Rep. Chris StewartChristopher (Chris) Douglas StewartAtlanta Wendy's 911 call the night of Rayshard Brooks's death released Tyler Perry offers to pay for funeral of Rayshard Brooks Current, former NHL players form diversity coalition to fight intolerance in hockey MORE (R-Utah).

 

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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