Overnight Regulation: Labor Department reportedly hid unfavorable report on tip-pooling rule | NY plans to sue EPA over water rule | Senators urge FTC to probe company selling fake Twitter followers

Overnight Regulation: Labor Department reportedly hid unfavorable report on tip-pooling rule | NY plans to sue EPA over water rule | Senators urge FTC to probe company selling fake Twitter followers
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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 Trump took credit in his State of the Union this week for a booming economy. But how much credit should he really get? Sylvan Lane and Vicki Needham take a look here.



The Labor Department is under fire for allegedly hiding an unfavorable report on its tip pooling rule.

Bloomberg Law, citing current and former Labor Department sources, reported that department leaders scrubbed a report that showed employees could lose billions of dollars if the agency changes the Fair Labor Standards Act and allows employers to pool the tips of workers who make at least the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.

Important distinction: The proposal did not include employees who make less than the federal minimum wage and earn tips to supplement their pay.


Now House and Senate Democrats are calling of the Labor Department to withdraw its rule. 

In a statement, Rep. Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoHouse panel advances major VA reform bill Spending bill prevents employers from pocketing tips under tip-pooling rule Veterans Health Administration needs stronger recruitment methods MORE (Calif.), ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Workforce Protections said the Bloomberg Law report raises serious concerns about the impact of the rule on workers and the integrity of the rulemaking process.

"Policy differences aside, everyone can agree that holding a public comment period without giving the public access to all the information necessary to evaluate the proposed rule is completely unacceptable," he said. 

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayJudiciary Democrat calls for additional witnesses to testify on Kavanaugh Kavanaugh allegations set stage for Anita Hill sequel Time for action to improve government data analysis MORE (Wash.), ranking member of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, said President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE should tell Labor Secretary Acosta to abandon the rule. 

"This botched cover-up of evidence proving President Trump's policies help businesses steal billions from workers shows exactly what President Trump truly cares about: helping those at the top squeeze every last penny from families trying as hard as they can to get ahead," she said. 

Rep. Bob Scott (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in a statement that he plans to send an oversight letter to the department, requesting they share any and all economic analyses they have on the effects of the tip rule.

A spokesperson for the Labor Department said it a statement that the department intends to publish an informed cost benefit analysis as part of the final rule and act in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

Read the story here.



Environment: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) pledged Thursday to lead a "multi-state" lawsuit against the Trump administration for delaying a major water pollution rule.

Schneiderman's statement, one day after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the two-year delay, did not specify the states that would join him.

"The Trump administration's suspension of the Clean Water Rule threatens to eliminate protections for millions of miles of streams and acres of wetlands across the country," he said in a statement.

Timothy Cama has the story here


Technology: Two senators are asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate a company that sells fake Twitter followers in the wake of a New York Times report that revealed that dozens of public figures purchased social media followings to inflate their prominence.

Sens. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell: Sessions should stay as attorney general Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans Farm groups fear Trump aid won’t fix trade damage MORE (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of a Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, argue in a letter to acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen on Wednesday that Devumi, the company at the center of the Times report, has been deceiving consumers and stealing identities.

Harper Neidig has the story here


Finance: The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee expressed fears in a Wednesday letter to a top U.S. regulator over whether credit unions are sticking to their intended purpose while they're still exempt from federal corporate income tax.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGrand Staircase-Escalante: A conservation triumph is headed for future as playground for industry McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal GOP offers to ban cameras from testimony of Kavanaugh accuser MORE (R-Utah) pressed National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Mark McWatters on his efforts to loosen restrictions on credit union activities. 

Hatch wrote that he's "concerned that the credit union industry is evolving in ways that take many credit unions further from their original tax-exempt purpose." He cited moves by McWatters to loosen field of membership constraints and allow credit unions to lend to businesses and expand their financial portfolios. 

Sylvan Lane has the story here


Environment: The surprise decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse course on consideration of a precious minerals mine in Alaska has left supporters and opponents of the project scrambling to figure out what comes next.

EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE had moved in May to withdraw the Obama administration's proposal to block the mine under the Clean Water Act. But in a statement on Friday evening, he scrapped those plans, warning the project could cause "significant and irreversible harm" to fishing habitats near Bristol Bay in Alaska, which harbors the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery.

Megan Wilson and Timothy Cama with the story here.  


Health care: Advocates of "right to try" legislation have been given a jolt of momentum by President Trump's decision to tout the bill during his State of the Union address.

The legislation would allow patients with a serious illness to request access to experimental medicines that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't yet approved.

Trump called on Congress to send the measure to his desk, saying he believes "patients with terminal conditions, terminal illness, should have access to experimental treatment immediately that could potentially save their lives."

Supporters of the bill were elated by Trump's endorsement of the Right to Try Act to a national audience and are now hopeful that the bill, which has already passed the Senate, can quickly pass the House.

Rachel Roubein has the story here.



United tightens travel rules for emotional-support animals – The Wall Street Journal 

Trump administration strips consumer watchdog office of enforcement powers in lending discrimination cases – The Washington Post 

NLRB member under investigation for conflict of interest – ProPublica 

San Francisco to dismiss thousands of marijuana convictions – NPR 

Opinion: Lies, damned lies, and statistics about marijuana legalization