Overnight Regulation: Liberal groups train their fire on Trump education, labor picks

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of the news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington where it's been a busy week. Is it Friday yet? 

Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORY 

Liberal groups have sought to jam Republican phones lines with protests of President Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education secretary.

Credo Action's vice president and political director, Murshed Zaheed, said its members made 18,000 calls to members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on DeVos, targeting committee Democrats and key Republicans, including Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiInterior spending bill holds Trump administration accountable for 2017 promises Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (R-Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Maine) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran MORE (R-Ky.).

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa Overnight Health Care: Biden infuriates abortion-rights groups with stance on Hyde Amendment | Trump tightens restrictions on fetal tissue research | Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump's mental health MORE (D-Pa.) has received more than 50,000 emails and letters opposing DeVos, according to his spokesman, John Rizzo. 

And Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions Senators demand Trump explain decision to deploy troops amid Iran tensions MORE's (D-Va.) spokeswoman, Sarah Peck, said Kaine has received more than 25,000 emails and letters about DeVos alone and the vast majority have been in opposition to her nomination.

Calls to action on social media platforms like Facebook have included a list of Republican senators on the HELP Committee, urging people to phone offices in an attempt to block DeVos's nomination.

In a series of tweets Tuesday, Murkowski, who sits on the committee, said her Alaska and D.C. offices have been "overwhelmed with calls from the lower 48, which has made it difficult for Alaskans to express their opinions."

She said her staff is doing the best they can to manage the phone calls and listen to voicemails. ...

Political advocacy group Every Voice teamed up with End Citizens United for a campaign heavily focused on DeVos. In a digital ad targeting senators who have received donations from the nominee, Every Voice urges constituents to call on their senators to recuse themselves from DeVos's confirmation hearing.

While no senators have done so, communications director Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Pompeo blames Iran for oil tanker attacks | House panel approves 3B defense bill | Trump shares designs for red, white and blue Air Force One House panel approves 3B defense policy bill House panel approves 3B defense policy bill MORE said the group's effort helped highlight the role DeVos's money has played in politics.

But DeVos isn't the only nominee lawmakers are getting calls about.

Several GOP Senate offices report being overwhelmed with protest messages against Trump's Cabinet picks, with the volume so high that some mailboxes are full.

Read the full story here.

 

In other news, the Senate labor committee has again delayed its hearing on Trump's labor pick Andy Puzder.

This is the third delay for the fast-food CEO was originally scheduled to appear before the committee on Jan. 12. The hearing is now scheduled for Feb. 7.

The delay comes as Puzder faces a new round of protests from fast food workers at his own restaurants. Workers at Hardee's and Carl's Jr. locations in 31 cities on Thursday are rallying against the restaurant chief.

At the same time, 33 employees on Thursday filed wage theft and sexual harassment complaints against Puzder's restaurants.

Read the story here.

 

 TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

Keep an eye out for these rules in Friday's edition of the Federal Register:

--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will draft new guidelines for self-shielded irradiators.

The guidelines will apply to those seeking "materials licenses for self-shielded irradiators." The changes include new "information on safety culture, security of radioactive materials, protection of sensitive information, and changes in regulatory policies and practices," the agency says.

The public has until March 10 to comment. 

--The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will ban three synthetic cannabinoids.

The synthetic cannabinoids mimic the effects of marijuana. The DEA temporarily prohibited these drugs in 2015, but the ban was scheduled to expire Sunday. So the agency is extending the temporary order "until the permanent scheduling action for these three substances is completed."

The ban covers "THJ-2201, AB-PINACA and AB-CHMINACA."

--The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will formally raise the fines for people who violate the law.

The DHS temporarily raised the monetary civil penalties last summer, and the agency is now making those fines permanent. The changes account for inflation. They will apply to "violation that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015."

The DHS order includes the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Coast Guard.

The penalties go into effect immediately.

--The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will delay new rules for its Centers of Excellence and Expertise, which are focused on improving trade practices and bringing uniformity across the country.

The agency temporarily established new responsibilities for the organization in December, but will extend the comment period on the final rule to give the public more time to consider the changes.

The public now has until March 20 to comment.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW

Keystone XL builder sends new permit application to Trump

FCC approves $170M to boost rural broadband in NY

Elon Musk floated carbon tax to Trump

Conservative groups ask Congress to rescind FCC privacy rules

House Dems: Trump's federal agency 'gag orders' likely illegal

TSA adds 11 new airlines to PreCheck program

Trump names Obama nominee as temporary top energy regulator

GOP expects sweeping change at Trump's FCC

Trump appoints acting chairs to labor boards

Trump names Obama nominee as temporary top energy regulator

Union membership hits new low

The quiet GOP campaign against government regulation (The Atlantic)

Trump appoints regulation critic as FTC chairwoman (Engadget)

Huge regulation cuts in 2017: Directors beware (Forbes)

The fine print in Trump's regulation memo (Bloomberg)

  

BY THE NUMBERS

1: Proposed rule

4: Final rules

(Source: Federal Register)