Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves Trump's Labor pick

Overnight Regulation: Senate panel approves Trump's Labor pick
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Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, courts, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington, where Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat Biden, Trump tied in potential 2024 match-up: poll Nearly 80 percent of Republicans want to see Trump run in 2024: poll MORE -- who also serves as the President of the Senate -- broke a tie in the upper chamber to help repeal an Obama-era abortion regulation. You can read about it here. Here's the latest.



President Trump's labor nominee cleared a key Senate hurdle Thursday.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 12-11 along party lines to send Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta to the floor for final approval. 

Trump picked Acosta after his first choice, restaurant executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew himself from consideration in February amid questions about how his restaurant chains treated workers, his hiring of an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and and abuse accusations from an ex-wife.

Acosta, a former member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is seen as an easier sell because he has experience in the field and has been confirmed by the Senate on three separate occasions to other posts.

In addition to his role on the NLRB, the Senate previously confirmed Acosta to be assistant attorney general to run the Justice Department's civil rights division, and as a U.S. attorney in Florida.


Republicans hope to quickly confirm Acosta and add another member to Trump's Cabinet.

Democrats see Acosta as the lesser of two evils compared to Puzder, but they've also raised concerns about Acosta's ability to remain independent from the president and be a neutral arbiter on labor issues.

The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades MORE (Wash.), said she's "glad this is not Andrew Puzder here today," but said she still has "deep concerns" about Acosta.

"The Department of Labor is an agency whose job it is to stand up for the workers in this country, their safety, making sure they get the pay they've earned," Murray told The Hill. "I just do not feel comfortable Mr. Acosta is going to stand up to a Trump administration that, in my opinion, has not done that."

Those concerns may not be enough to block his confirmation.

Acosta needs support from a simple majority of the Senate to be confirmed, which will happen if all 52 Republicans votes for him.

Acosta has also picked up at least one Democratic vote from home state Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA adviser quits after request to change name of James Webb telescope denied NASA won't rename James Webb Space Telescope despite controversy FAA unveils new system to reduce planes' times on taxiway MORE of Florida.

Click here for the story.



Keep an eye on these rules in Friday's edition of the Federal Register.

--The Department of Education will consider whether to allow schools to text the parents of students who cut class.

The Education Department issued an information collection request Thursday as it looks to evaluate the effectiveness of "parent messaging strategies."

"Most school districts have policies in place to systematically address student absenteeism, which remains a considerable problem across grade levels in many parts of the country. Typical attendance practices include parent notification by letters, phone calls, parent meetings, [and] home visitation," the agency writes in the Federal Register.

"Text messaging interventions are becoming increasingly popular -- in fields such as public health," it added. "School districts have increasing capacity to use technology to implement messaging interventions. Thus, an evaluation to determine whether a text messaging intervention can improve student attendance in a cost effective manner is warranted."

The public has 60 days to comment.

--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will propose new quality control standards for spearmint oil.

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service says it will establish classes of spearmint oil produced out west.

The public has 30 days to comment.

--The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will issue new electronic data gathering requirements.

This is part of the SEC's update to the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System (EDGAR).

The changes go into effect immediately. 



Manchin first Dem to announce support for Gorsuch 

Heitkamp becomes second

North Carolina gov. signs bill to repeal 'bathroom law'

Florida Republican blasts agency for changing manatee protections

Pence breaks tie, allowing Senate to revoke Obama order on abortion provider funding

Pot state Dems want federal regulation of marijuana

Seattle sues Trump administration over sanctuary city ban

EPA head won't ban controversial pesticide

Safety regulator: 31 babies drowned inside infant bath tubs

Volkswagen settles with ten states for $157M

Trump to decide by late May whether to stay in Paris climate pact

Trump to sign broadband privacy repeal

Senate Dems to Trump: Veto broadband privacy repeal

EPA mistakenly criticizes Trump's executive order

AT&T wins $6.5B contract to build first responder network

Green groups sue Trump over Keystone XL approval

House approves EPA science committee overhaul

EU to propose encryption backdoor rules in June, commissioner says

Trump signs law quietly undercutting Obama's protections for LGBTQ workers – The Huffington Post 

How a case gets to the US Supreme Court – Vox



5: Proposed rules

9: Final rules

(Friday's Federal Register)



"I hold no illusions that I will agree with every decision Judge Gorsuch may issue in the future, but I have not found any reasons why this jurist should not be a Supreme Court Justice," Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Biden seeks to quell concerns over climate proposals MORE  (D-W.Va.) said in announcing he will vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch. Manchin is the first Democratic senator to announce his support. Read more here. And check out The Hill's latest whip list, showing 2 Dems for Gorsuch and 33 against.