Overnight Regulation

Overnight Regulation: GOP senator aims to repeal arbitration rule | Feds to rethink fuel efficiency fines | EPA moves to roll back restrictions on Alaska mine

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Welcome to Overnight Regulations, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and the courts. It’s Tuesday evening here in Washington where everyone is talking about the stunning email chain Donald Trump Jr. released on Twitter earlier today. Read about it here.



Republicans are already planning to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new rule banning banks and credit card companies from stripping consumers of their right to settle disputes in court through class action lawsuits.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said he’s already started the process under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the rule the bureau finalized on Monday to crack down on forced arbitration agreements that are often slipped into the fine print of consumer contracts. The law gives Congress 60 legislative days to repeal a rule after it’s been finalized. 

Before this year, the law had only been used once to scrap a regulation, but the GOP Congress was able to repeal 14 Obama-era rules with a Republican now in the White House before time ran out in May.  

The consumer agency’s arbitration rule: 

  • Prevents companies from writing arbitration clauses that prohibit consumers from joining class-action lawsuits
  • Forces financial firms to hand over information about “initial claims and counterclaims, answers to these claims and counterclaims and awards issued in arbitration

Cotton said CFPB had “gone rogue again” in issuing the rule. 

“The last thing Americans need is more anti-business regulation that will prompt frivolous lawsuits while hurting consumers,” he said. 

Cotton’s announcement is the first congressional action to rescind the rule. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), senior U.S. Chamber of Commerce officials and major bank lobbying groups have already called for it to be repealed.

But that effort could falter in the Senate.

The Hill’s Sylvan Lane has the full story here



The House Education and the Workforce Committee will meet to talk about the National Labor Relations Board’s new definition of joint employers and the impact it’s having on businesses. 

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit will hold a hearing to look at legislative proposals to provide regulatory relief to community financial institutions. 

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to mark up the Sunshine for Regulations and Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017, which requires federal agencies to give notice when they learn of an impending lawsuit to give affected parties the opportunity to intervene.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Christopher Wray to be director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 



Environment: House appropriators released a spending bill Tuesday that proposes a $528 million cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget next year. 

President Trump wanted to eliminate $2.6 billion. 

The legislation would require the agency to repeal its water jurisdiction regulation and includes funding for buyouts at the agency, but it doesn’t include the deep cuts Trump proposed in May when administration officials said they wanted to end 50 department programs and eliminate 3,200 of the agency’s 15,000 jobs. 

Devin Henry has the story here


Finance: The head of the House Small Business Committee wants to make sure the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) isn’t overly burdening small businesses.

Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) sent a letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray on Tuesday asking for more information on two recent rulemaking actions. 

Here’s the low down on that.


Environment: The Trump administration is reconsidering higher penalties put in place last year for automakers that violate vehicle fuel efficiency standards.

In a pair of notices released Tuesday and due to be published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is delaying enforcement of the regulation increasing the penalties while it reviews them for potential change or repeal.

Timothy Cama’s story is here.


Environment: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a step Tuesday toward rolling back the Obama administration’s proposed restrictions on a massive planned gold mine in Alaska.

The agency released a formal regulatory proposal that would scrap its 2014 proposal to block the Pebble Mine project under the Clean Water Act. Under former President Obama, the EPA sought to block the mine to protect salmon and other species in the region.

Timothy Cama has more here.


Transportation: Takata Corp. is expanding its recall to include another 2.7 million air bag inflators in the United States that may be prone to rupturing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced Tuesday.

The latest recall applies to Takata air bags that use calcium sulfate as a desiccant, which is a chemical drying agent meant to make the air bags safer. It’s another blow to Takata, whose defective nitrate-based air bags led to the largest auto recall in history.

Melanie Zanona has more here.


ICYMI… a new czar: Late Monday, the Senate voted 54-41 to confirm Neomi Rao to be President Trump’s so-called “regulatory czar,” as head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

Often referred to as the “most powerful government office no one’s ever heard of,” OIRA oversees the federal government’s entire regulatory process. All proposed and final rules, as well as government data collections, have to be approved by the office.

Rao will now be at the helm of Trump’s deregulation agenda.

Here’s more on the new czar.



House Republicans to offer bill to help parents of critically ill British child 

Trump faces decision on new ethics chief 

AT&T joined net neutrality demonstration despite pushing for repeal of FCC rules 

Trump sued for blocking Twitter users 

The deep industry ties of Trump’s deregulatory teams – The New York Times 

Texas girl electrocuted while using cellphone in bathtub – USA Today 


Send tips, story ideas and jokes to lwheeler@thehill.com and follow me on Twitter @wheelerlydia.

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