Overnight Regulation

Overnight Regulation: Senate targets Obama-era education rules


Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill the courts and beyond. It’s Wednesday evening here in Washington, where ABC’s “Designated Survivor” returns tonight after a long hiatus.

Here’s the latest.



The Senate on Wednesday voted 59 to 40 to roll back new teacher preparation requirements, and could repeal a similar rule later this week that places tougher accountability measures on schools.

Republicans say their actions targeting the Obama-era rules will “remove Washington bureaucrats from the classroom.”

The House voted to eliminate these two education rules in February. They’ll then head to President Trump’s desk, are are expected to get his signature.

The votes are part of a larger GOP effort to repeal dozens of regulations from the Obama administration using the Congressional Review Act, which empowers Republicans to do so without Democratic support.

The rule assessing school accountability plans stems from the Every Student Succeeds Act and is the more controversial of the two education regulations. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged lawmakers to “send power back to parents, teachers, schools, and states” for measuring the success of their schools.

“Teachers, governors, school boards all were fed up with Washington telling them so much about what to do about their children,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said.

Alexander warned against the federal government exerting too authority over schools.

“We said to the [Education] Department, ‘You can’t tell states exactly what to do about fixing low-performing schools. That’s their decision,'” Alexander said. “And we said to the Department, ‘You can’t tell states exactly how to rate the public schools in your state,’ but this rule does that.”

But Democrats are defending the rules, saying they provide guidance for identifying failing schools and developing plans to improve them.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called the repeal of the school accountability plans a “blank check for [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos to promote her anti-public schools agenda.”

While many Republicans back repealing the rule, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) this week voiced support for the school accountability requirements.

“I do not support repealing the regulation requiring states to provide parents with accurate information on how their students are performing, which will help ensure our schools are accountable for results,” Portman said. “These measures balance state flexibility while reinforcing protections for students of color, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families.

“We must do more to provide a better education for all students, including those who have been traditionally underserved,” he added.



The Senate Judiciary Commission will consider the nominations of Danny Reeves, a federal district court judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Charles Breyer, a former federal judge in California, to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. 

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management will hold a hearing to look how agencies use science in the rulemaking process, focusing on proposals for improving transparency and accountability.

The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing to hear FEMA’s perspective on flood insurance reforms. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments in a case challenging the National Labor Relations Board’s new definition of a joint-employer.



Keep an eye on these rules in Thursday’s edition of the Federal Register.

–Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will issue new rules for an epilepsy drug.

The DEA will place brivaracetam into schedule V, where it will be used to “treat partial onset seizures in patients age 16 years and older with epilepsy.”

The changes go into effect immediately.

–The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will issue new rules for AM radio stations.

The rules apply to “FM translator stations rebroadcasting the signal of an AM broadcast station,” the agency says. The changes will help AM stations use rebroadcasting stations to improve their coverage.

The rule goes into effect in 30 days.

–The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will allow 131 truck drivers who fail the vision requirement to operate commercial motor vehicles between states.

These truck drivers usually have poor vision in one eye, but see well enough in the other eye to drive safely, the agency says.

The FMCSA will also consider exempting another 18 truck drivers from the requirements.

The public has 30 days to comment.



Senators introduce bill to crack down on certain robocalls 

Trump’s order on climate rule ‘unlikely’ this week 

Hawaii files challenge to Trump’s new travel order 

Blackburn bill would roll back broadband privacy regulations

Dems press FCC chief on AT&T-Time Warner merger

Dems to DHS head: Splitting up families is ‘cruel’

FCC chairman dodges question on if press is ‘enemy’ of Americans

Marijuana sellers face uncertainty under Trump

Lawmakers urge Trump to ground Emirates flights

Dems back bill to boost airfare transparency

Health providers denounce GOP bill as House panel gets to work – The New York Times 

Texas committee passes bill to curb transgender bathroom access – Reuters



6: Proposed rules

6: Final rules

(Source: Thursday’s Federal Register)



“No surprise, #Trumpcare is good for the healthy, the wealthy & not much else,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tweeted Wednesday, slamming the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

Democratic critics are increasingly using “TrumpCare” to describe the House GOP proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The Hill’s Jonathan Easley and Ben Kamisar take a look at the new war of words. Click here for the story.

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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Tags Lamar Alexander Mitch McConnell Patty Murray Rob Portman Ron Wyden

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