Overnight Regulation: Trump pick for USDA job withdraws amid Mueller scrutiny | Powell tapped for Fed | Female GOP lawmakers offer paid leave plan | Feds launch program for drone deliveries

Overnight Regulation: Trump pick for USDA job withdraws amid Mueller scrutiny | Powell tapped for Fed | Female GOP lawmakers offer paid leave plan | Feds launch program for drone deliveries

Welcome to Overnight Regulations, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and the courts. It's Thursday evening here in Washington where Republicans just rolled out their plan to rewrite the tax code.  

Read about that here



President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation MORE's pick for a top job in the U.S. Department of Agriculture withdrew his nomination Thursday. 

As Jordan Fabian, Timothy Cama and Brett Samuels report, Sam Clovis is a former Trump campaign official who has become entangled in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russia's influence in the 2016 presidential election. 


Clovis, who Trump tapped to be USDA's chief scientist, was allegedly the campaign official who encouraged young aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosMueller assembles team of cooperators in Russian probe Calif. man ensnared in Mueller probe sentenced to 6 months in prison The Mueller investigation: Where it stands at the midterms MORE to meet with the Russians. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty this week to lying to law enforcement during the investigation.  

In a Thursday letter to Trump obtained by The Hill, Clovis blamed the "political climate" for his decision to withdraw.

"The political climate inside Washington has made it impossible for me to receive balanced and fair consideration for this position," Clovis wrote.

"The relentless assaults on you and your team seem to be a blood sport that only increases in intensity each day. As I am focused on your success and the success of this Administration, I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much important work left to do for the American people."

Find the full story here



Federal Reserve: President Trump announced Thursday that he will nominate Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell to be chairman of the central bank.

Powell, a Republican appointed to the Fed by President Obama in 2012, served as a Treasury Department undersecretary during the George W. Bush administration.

If confirmed, Powell will replace Fed Chairwoman Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenThe Fed seems determined to snuff out economic progress Cohn defends rate hikes, says Trump shouldn't attack Fed The Fed really is ‘crazy’ for undercutting Trump recovery MORE, whose term leading the bank ends in February.

Trump praised Powell, known as Jay, for being able to lead the Fed with "sound monetary policy and prudent oversight of the financial system."

Powell has called for moderate fixes to the Dodd-Frank Act that have wide bipartisan support among regulators, including Yellen. A former lawyer and investment banker, Powell had overseen the Fed's financial regulatory efforts until the confirmation of Randal Quarles as the bank's vice chairman of supervision.

Read more here.


Paid leave: House Republicans unveiled a proposal Thursday to create a federal paid leave policy that would be covered by employers. 

Reps. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikRyan signals support for sanctions if Saudis killed Khashoggi Ryan on Trump’s ‘Horseface’ tweet: There’s no place for that type of language Cuomo: Driver in deadly limo crash did not have proper license MORE (R-N.Y.) and Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersTrump 'baby blimp' flies in Washington state for Pence visit The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — FBI widens scope of Kavanaugh investigation | Nightmare vote for red-state Dems | Five weeks to midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam MORE (R-Wash.) introduced the Workflex in the 21st Century Act.

The bill, drafted with the help of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), would exempt businesses from having to comply with state paid leave laws if they offer a minimum level of paid time off and at least one flexible working arrangement like a compressed work schedule, biweekly work program, telecommuting program, job-sharing program, or a flexible or predictable schedule. 

As for the paid leave, the trade group for human resource professionals said that it will depend on an employee's tenure and size of the company they work for.

Employers with 250 to 999 employees would be required to provide employees who have been at the company under five years with 14 paid days off, while those with five or more years of service would receive 18 days

Read the full story here


Drones: The Department of Transportation officially launched a pilot program on Thursday that will allow states to test new types of drone operations, including package deliveries.

President Trump directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month to create a pilot program to allow state and local governments to propose expanded drone operations that can include flights over people, nighttime operations and flying beyond the visual line of sight -- all of which are currently prohibited.

Melanie Zanona has the story here.


Energy: The Energy Department on Thursday said Secretary Rick Perry's comments on fossil fuels and sexual assault were meant to highlight the importance of electricity to parts of Africa.

"The secretary was making the important point that while many Americans take electricity for granted there are people in other countries who are impacted by their lack of electricity," spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.

Perry said Thursday morning that fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assault in Africa by electrifying more of the continent.

"When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts," he said. "From the standpoint of how you really affect people's lives, fossil fuels are going to play a role in that. I happen to think it's going to play a positive role."

Devin Henry has the story here.


More on Perry: The Sierra Club said Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Political appointee taking over as Interior IG | Change comes amid Zinke probe | White Houses shelves coal, nuke bailout plan | Top Dem warns coal export proposal hurts military The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Stormy Daniels trade fire on Twitter | Three weeks to midterms | Pompeo meets Saudi king White House shelves rescue plan for coal, nuclear: report MORE should resign over his Thursday statement that fossil fuels can help prevent sexual assault.

"It was already clear that Rick Perry is unfit to lead the Department of Energy, but to suggest that fossil fuel development will decrease sexual assault is not only blatantly untrue, it is an inexcusable attempt to minimize a serious and pervasive issue," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement.

Devin Henry has the story here


Voting laws: A prominent member of President Trump's election fraud commission is battling back against "absurd" accusations that the panel is trying to suppress the vote.    

In a sit-down interview with The Hill, Hans von Spakovsky dismissed criticism from liberals who say the committee's main objective is not to stop voter fraud, but to make it harder for some Americans -- particularly minorities -- to cast a ballot.

"I actually find it amusing when critics say 'Oh, well, the purpose of this commission is voter suppression.' Well, that's such B.S. because, look, this is an advisory commission. It has no executive authority of any kind," he said.

"The only thing we can do is write a report that makes recommendations and then it's up to the states or Congress to do something about it. The idea this is somehow going to keep you from voting is absurd," he said.

Read the story here


Climate rule: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing this month in West Virginia on its plan to repeal the Obama administration's climate change rule for power plants.

The hearing will be in Charleston and stretch over two days, Nov. 28 and 29.

By comparison, the Obama administration held four hearings in 2014 when it proposed the Clean Power Plan, in Pittsburgh, Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

EPA head Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA puts science ‘transparency’ rule on back burner Tucker Carlson says he 'can't really' dine out anymore because people keep yelling at him Overnight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports MORE said picking West Virginia, the nation's No. 2 coal state, as the location for the hearing shows that the agency cares about the impact of the Clean Power Plan on coal-heavy areas.

Read the story here.


Driverless cars: The Trump administration is already in the process of updating its federal guidance for driverless vehicles, Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoHillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence Trump administration moves ahead with plans to rewrite self-driving cars rules Transportation Department will 'no longer assume' commercial drivers are human MORE said Thursday.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled a new framework in September designed to pave the way for autonomous vehicles and build upon efforts from the previous administration.

"Work is advancing so quickly, however, that an updated version is already in the works," Chao said at a DOT event on Thursday. "That's how fast technology is changing."

The Trump administration updated a voluntary, flexible framework for self-driving cars that was first issued by the Obama administration last fall.

Under "A Vision for Safety 2.0," a 15-point safety assessment for automakers and companies was reduced to a 12-point safety checklist, and the guidance no longer includes a suggestion that automakers consider ethical and privacy issues.

Read the story here.



Here's what Trump's opioid commission wants him to do – Vox 

Massive government report says climate is warming and humans are the cause – NPR 

Senate votes to confirm Stephanos Bibas to 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals – The Washington Examiner 

US weighs suit against AT&T's deal for Time Warner - The Wall Street Journal