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Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals

Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Tuesday night in Washington, where lawmakers see the odds of a government shutdown rising.

 

THE BIG STORY

Senate Democrats have put together 50 votes for a measure meant to block the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.

Democrats are just one GOP vote shy of the 51-vote threshold for a Senate resolution of disapproval, which would strike down the FCC's December rules change.

"With full caucus support," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.) said, "it's clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options."

The Democrats' effort won the support of its first Republican backer, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again Conservative group launches ad campaign thanking Collins after Kavanaugh vote Democrats must end mob rule MORE (Maine), last Tuesday.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), also celebrated the bill's 50th co-sponsor in a statement Tuesday.

"There is a tsunami of Congressional and grassroots support to overturn the FCC's partisan and misguided decision on net neutrality," Markey said.

However: The measure, if it passes the Senate, faces a murky future as it would have to pass the GOP-held House and get President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border MORE's signature to go into effect.

The Hill's John Bowden reports.

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY

The Senate Banking Committee meets to consider a number of nominations, including a re-do vote on Jerome Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve.

A Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee holds a hearing on the Bureau of Reclamation's title transfer process.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on America's water infrastructure.

The House Financial Services Committee marks up bills that would ease Dodd-Frank rules.

The House Natural Resources Committee marks up a number of bills including the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act of 2017.

The House Judiciary Committee marks up the "Disclosing Foreign Influence Act."

The Senate Finance Committee will vote on the nomination of Alex Azar to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

REGULATORY ROUND UP:

Finance: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Tuesday that it would accept applications from lenders to waive the first deadline for complying with its payday lending rule.

The move comes as acting CFPB Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race On The Money: Stocks slide for second day as Trump blames 'loco' Fed | Mulvaney calls for unity at consumer bureau | Pelosi says Dems will go after Trump tax returns Mulvaney calls for unity at consumer bureau amid racial controversy MORE and staff consider changes to the agency's hallmark rule.

The rule, aimed at protecting consumers from incurring crippling debts through short-term, high-interest loans, took effect on Tuesday.

Finalized last year under former CFPB Director Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayTrump attacks Democrat in Ohio governor's race Election Countdown: Minnesota Dems worry Ellison allegations could cost them key race | Dems struggle to mobilize Latino voters | Takeaways from Tennessee Senate debate | Poll puts Cruz up 9 in Texas Poll: Cordray leads DeWine by 6 points in Ohio governor race MORE, it imposes limits on how frequently a lender can offer, collect on and extend high-interest loans with deadlines of only a few weeks.

The bureau said in a statement that it would accept applications to waive the April 16 deadline for lenders subject to the rule to register with the bureau. Lenders have until Aug. 19, 2019, to comply with most other provisions.

The waivers would give the CFPB more time to finish their review and anticipated revision of the rule before lenders would have spent resources preparing to follow it.

Sylvan Lane has the story here.

 

More finance: President Trump said Tuesday that he's looking to loosen restrictions on consumer lending as he and Republican colleagues push to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act.

Trump said during White House event Tuesday that he want to give banks the freedom to loan to customers deemed too risky under Dodd-Frank, the sweeping post-crisis financial rules enacted in 2010.

"We're looking now at Dodd-Frank because we have to free up so that the banks can loan money to great people because they were restricted, Trump said at the "Conversations With the Women of America" event.

Banks are making record profits almost a decade after the crisis, thanks in part to a booming stock market, and low unemployment. While large banks have been able to adapt to the costs of Dodd-Frank, bank industry advocates say the law suffocates smaller firms with fewer resources.

Sylvan Lane has more here.

 

Technology: Twenty-two state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the agency's repeal of its net neutrality rules.

"An open internet -- and the free exchange of ideas it allows -- is critical to our democratic process," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) said in a statement. "The repeal of net neutrality would turn internet service providers into gatekeepers -- allowing them to put profits over consumers while controlling what we see, what we do, and what we say online."

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The FCC voted last month to scrap the Obama-era rules governing how internet service providers handle web traffic, sparking intense backlash.

The state officials were joined by the web company Mozilla and consumer groups including Public Knowledge in petitioning the court. They argued the FCC's move was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the Administrative Procedures Act.

Harper Neidig has more here.

 

More technology: State legislatures are waging their own fight to restore net neutrality rules after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to scrap them last month.

Lawmakers in at least six state governments have introduced legislation to preserve the rules, and legislators in other states are in the process of considering their own net neutrality bills.

Ali Breland has the story.

 

More technology: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai on Sunday said preventative safeguards weren't in place when an emergency alert was inadvertently sent to Hawaii residents on Saturday, calling the error "absolutely unacceptable."

"Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert," Pai said in a statement.

"Moving forward, we will focus on what steps need to be taken to prevent a similar incident from happening again," he added.

Read Brett Samuels's piece here.

 

Health care/Defense: The Defense Department and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday announced new steps aimed at expediting the approval of medical devices and drugs for use on the battlefield.

The plan is being carried out in line with a law passed last year following a controversy over whether the Pentagon should be allowed to approve products for battlefield use.

"We recognize that there are essential and in some cases unmet health-care needs of those protecting our nation and that we at the FDA need to do our part to better protect them," Anna Abram, the FDA's deputy commissioner for policy, planning, legislation and analysis, said in a conference call with reporters.

Right now, the Pentagon is focusing on getting approval for freeze-dried plasma, cold-stored platelets and cryopreserved platelets, which the military hopes will help save troops from bleeding out on the battlefield.

The Pentagon and its advocates in Congress have been frustrated by what they describe as the FDA's slow approval of certain treatments they say could save lives on the battlefield.

Rebecca Kheel reports.

 

Energy: Two of the five energy regulators who voted to reject Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy — Presented by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance — Trump taps pick for energy regulator | EPA left key official out of 'secret science' rule | EPA takes out language on climate impacts on kids Trump must avoid Obama mistake with bailout of energy companies Trump and son signal support for McCarthy as next Speaker MORE's plan to prop up coal and nuclear power plants said Tuesday that it didn't pass legal muster.

Republican Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeePartisan politics at independent agency draws bipartisan rebuke Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets Journalists take a trip down the rabbit hole at CNN's 'Alice in Wonderland'-themed brunch MORE and Democrat Cheryl LaFleur, both commissioners in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), said at a Bipartisan Policy Center event that Perry and other supporters of the plan never showed that it would withstand court challenges or otherwise fit into the laws that govern FERC.

"I came to the conclusion that my colleagues did, that while I feel Secretary Perry asked the right question, he proposed the wrong remedy," Chatterjee said.

Timothy Cama has the story.

 

Courts: The Department of Justice is appealing a federal district court judge's decision to block the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DOJ said it filed a notice of their appeal to the 9th Circuit Court and intends later this week to take the "rare" step of asking the Supreme Court to bypass a 9th Circuit Court ruling and rule on the merits of the case so the issue can be "resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved."

The Trump administration filed its appeal a week after a federal district court judge in San Francisco said the Obama-era program must remain in place and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must continue to accept renewal applications from immigrants currently in the program

More from Lydia Wheeler here.

 

Transportation: The federal government says it will "carefully" review a petition from General Motors to deploy a fleet of self-driving 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 Sunday.

GM said last week it had filed for government approval to deploy the Cruise AV, a fully autonomous car that has no steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator. The company is hoping to add the car to its self-driving rideshare fleet by 2019.

"It is now coming to the stage with the rapid advancement of self-driving technology that this request is now a reality," Chao said at the Detroit Auto Show, according to Agence France-Presse.

More from Morgan Chalfant here.

 

More transportation: A recent poll found that a majority of Americans are worried about operating cars on the same roads as driverless vehicles.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they are concerned about sharing the streets with driverless vehicles, according to a poll from Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety.

Thirty-four percent of Americans surveyed said they were not concerned, while 2 percent of those polled said they did not know.

Results of the survey come after the House last year passed the bipartisan Self Drive Act, meant to speed up the development of driverless vehicles and provide a set of federal laws for the technology.

Mallory Shelbourne reports.

 

Health care: The Trump administration released landmark guidance this week aimed at allowing states to impose work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, a major shift in the design of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Nathaniel Weixel brings you five things to know about work requirements. What's number one? While requiring work for benefits is a GOP policy staple, until last week, no state has ever been able to get federal approval to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries.

More from Nathaniel here.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Investment bank regulation flagged as next Brexit flashpoint (Financial Times)

For businesses, Trump's first year is a net success (The Wall Street Journal)

Bitcoin and Ethereum tumble after renewed fears of regulatory crackdown (The Guardian)

 

FROM THE HILL'S OPINION PAGES

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