Overnight Regulation: Dems propose scrapping law used to overturn regs

Overnight Regulation: Dems propose scrapping law used to overturn regs

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Tuesday evening here in Washington. Here's the latest.



Democrats are taking aim at President Trump's power to roll back regulations.

The Sunset the CRA and Restore American Protections (SCRAP) Act introduced Tuesday by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Judge tosses land management plans after ousting Pendley from role | Trump says he could out-raise Biden with calls to Wall Street, oil execs | Supreme Court to review Trump border wall funding, asylum policies OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pendley says court decision ousting him from BLM has had 'no impact' | Court strikes down Obama-era rule targeting methane leaks from public lands drilling | Feds sued over no longer allowing polluters to pay for environmental projects  Pendley says court decision ousting him from BLM has had 'no impact' MORE (D-N.M.) would eliminate the law that Trump and Republican lawmakers have used to repeal more than a dozen Obama-era regulations. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is backing identical legislation in the House.

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) makes it easier for lawmakers to repeal regulations they disapprove of from the executive branch. Under the 1996 law, Congress only needs a simple majority to roll back recently issued regulations. Federal agencies are also blocked from publishing similar rules in the future.


The SCRAP Act would not only prevent Republicans from using this law to repeal future regulations, but it would also allow federal agencies to reinstate rules that have already been struck down under the CRA.

Before Trump, the CRA had only been successfully used once, in 2001, to repeal a Clinton-era labor rule.

Since then, Republicans have turned to the CRA to repeal 14 Obama-era regulations, hoisting the relatively obscure law into the limelight.

The rules overturned include environmental regulations such as the Interior Department's stream protection rule, internet regulations, financial rules, healthcare rules, education rules and gun restrictions.

Democrats warn Republicans are abusing their authority under the law by rolling back so many regulations.

"It's like using a sledgehammer when a chisel is needed," Udall said.

"The CRA never should have been passed into law, and it's past time to repeal it," he added.

The bill stands no chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Congress, but it is something Democrats could someday return to in the majority. 

Robert Weissman, president of the left-leaning Public Citizen, called Republicans' use of the CRA a "corporate payback scheme."

"If there was any doubt before, it's now certain that the CRA must go," he said.

Click here for the story.



The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will meet to mark up a series of bills, including the Regulatory Accountability Act, which forces agencies to chose the most "cost-effective" way to regulate. 

The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing to look at ways to run the government for less. 

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on the need to reform the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Traffic Control. 

The House Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing on strengthening career and technical education for the 21st Century. 

The National Resources Committee will hold an oversight hearing to find better ways to manage America's overgrown, fire-prone national forests. 



Keep an eye on these rules in Wednesday's edition of the Federal Register:

—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing new rules to block robocalls from fraudulent numbers.

The agency's proposed rules build on guidance issued last year that allowed cellular networks to "block calls when the subscriber to a particular telephone number requests that calls originating from that number be blocked."

Critics say automated robocalls are a nuisance to consumers. Hiding the numbers makes it harder for law enforcement to track those responsible.

The changes would be reflected in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The public has 45 days to comment.

—The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Forest Service will propose new hunting and trapping regulations.

The rules would be in effect from 2018 through 2020. The proposal includes harvesting limits and rules governing the "taking of wildlife for subsistence."

The public has 30 days to comment.

—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will consider new catfish inspection standards.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will issue a request for comment on the agency's plan to update the inspection coverage for places that slaughter certain fish, including catfish. Under the plan, these places would be subject to inspection "once per production shift," as opposed to during "all hours of operations."

The changes would affect 16 places that slaughter catfish. "All of these establishments receive live fish that are subsequently slaughtered and further processed," the agency says.

The public has 30 days to comment.



US, Canada tribes to declare Keystone opposition

McConnell 'not optimistic' Dodd-Frank overhaul will happen

Virginia governor calls for state carbon regulations

Renewable groups push back on Energy Department electric grid study

FCC chairman does his own version of 'Mean Tweets'

Trump triggers battle over energy nominees

Chamber urges Treasury to withdraw rules on inversions, estate tax

Dems unveil bill to bring back workplace safety rule

EPA climate rule supporters want court to drop lawsuit

Durbin okays Dem meeting with GOP centrists on ObamaCare 

There's almost nothing Congress can do to stop Trump from giving out secrets – The Washington Post 

Judge Garland not interested in FBI job: sources – Reuters 



4: Proposed rules

7: Final rules

(Source: Wednesday's Federal Register)


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. Follow us at @timdevaney and @wheelerlydia.

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