Overnight Regulation: Senate confirms Trump Labor secretary

Overnight Regulation: Senate confirms Trump Labor secretary
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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, and time for the NFL Draft. We're hoping the Detroit Lions pick a running back in the first round. Here's the latest.

 

THE BIG STORY

The Senate confirmed another member of President Trump's Cabinet, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, on Thursday.

President Trump's second choice to run the Labor Department was confirmed in a 60-38 vote, just ahead of the president's 100th day in office. 

The former Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) takes the helm of the Labor Department at a time when worker tensions are rising across America.

President Trump promised to address these issues on the campaign trail, but so far, his labor agenda has gotten off to a rocky start.

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After Trump's first pick to run the Labor Department, restaurant executive Andrew Puzder, dropped out in February, the president scrambled to find a replacement.

The next day Trump nominated Acosta.

Given his labor background, Acosta is seen by both Republicans and Democrats as a better fit for the position.

Acosta will have a profound impact on labor policy in America at a time when the Labor Department is wrestling with a handful of Obama-era regulations.

Trump's Labor Department delayed the so-called fiduciary rule, ordering financial advisers to act in the best interest of clients who are saving for retirement, until June. But Acosta will face pressure from Republicans to rewrite the standards for retirement advisers.

The Obama administration claimed the fiduciary rule protects workers from bad financial advice or unnecessary fees. But Republicans argue it will raise the cost of retirement advice, forcing low-income workers to miss out on financial help.

Acosta also faces a difficult decision with the overtime rule.

President Obama doubled the overtime threshold, so that workers making up to $47,476 per year qualify to be paid time-and-a-half when they work more than 40 hours in a week. But business groups are challenging the rule in court.

Acosta could simply drop the Labor Department's defense of the rule in court. During his confirmation hearing, Acosta signaled he would like to rewrite the rule to increase the overtime threshold from what it used to be, $23,660, but not as high as the Obama administration set it.

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TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

--The Department of Commerce will issue a trade determination against Canada.

The Commerce Department's International Trade Administration will preliminarily determine that Canada provided subsidies to the softwood lumber industry in 2015.

The Trump administration announced the decision earlier this week, but will formalize it in Friday's edition of the Federal Register.

The determination goes into effect immediately.

--The Department of the Treasury will consider whether to cut retirement benefits for union workers.

The pension managers for the International Association of Machinists Motor City Pension Fund as well as the Alaska Ironworkers Pension Trust are both requesting permission from the Treasury to slash benefits.

The pensions claim without reducing benefits they could run out of money in the future.

The public has 45 days to comment on either request.

--The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to study the importation of hunting trophy animal fur.

The USDA will request permission from the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to collect information about the "importation of ruminant and swine hides, bird trophies, and deer hides."

The public has 60 days to comment.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW 

Net neutrality fight descends into trench warfare

What to know about Trump's national monuments executive order

Court delays EPA mercury rule case while Trump reviews

Hundreds of former EPA employees blast Trump on climate change

John Lewis to protest NRA convention 

Supreme Court jumps into biotech drug fight 

United promises to reduce overbooking 

'LGBTQ people were born perfect': A new bill would ban conversion therapy nationwide – The Washington Post 

Trump's losing streak in courts traceable to conservative judges – The New York Times

 

BY THE NUMBERS

3: Proposed rules

7: Final rules

(Source: Friday's Federal Register)