Overnight Regulation: Republicans weigh paid leave proposal | Web giants push to reinstate net neutrality | Conservatives threaten Fed pick | ATF flooded with comments opposing bump stock regulations

Overnight Regulation: Republicans weigh paid leave proposal | Web giants push to reinstate net neutrality | Conservatives threaten Fed pick | ATF flooded with comments opposing bump stock regulations
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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 lawmakers are facing a midnight shutdown if they can't approve a bipartisan budget deal. Read the latest here

 

THE BIG STORY

A few Senate Republicans are weighing a voluntary paid leave proposal that would allow parents to collect Social Security benefits early if they agree to defer their retirement benefits later in life to offset the costs.

GOP Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeReexamining presidential power over national monuments Utah group complains Mia Love should face criminal penalties for improper fundraising Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE (Utah), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio Rubio unloads on Turkish chef for 'feasting' Venezuela's Maduro: 'I got pissed' MORE (Fla.) and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP senator divorcing from husband GOP senators introduce bill to preserve ObamaCare's pre-existing conditions protections Pence: Trump’s national security will be as 'dominant' in space as it is on Earth MORE (Iowa) expressed support for the idea, provided by the conservative Independent Women's Forum (IWF), calling it "novel" and "creative." But the lawmakers noted that a formal piece of legislation still needs to be crafted.

"As you might imagine, turning good ideas into good legislation takes time," Lee said in a call with reporters Wednesday. "Getting this right means asking the right questions and then figuring out how to answer them."

Here's how it would work: 

  • Parents could take up to 12 weeks and receive 45 percent of their pay on average in a Social Security parental benefit.
  • The benefit is calculated using the same formula as Social Security disability benefits.
  • IWF estimates the average wage worker would receive $1,175 per month.

Lee said lawmakers are trying to figure out how to structure benefits so they are delivered to families when they need them, how the federal law should interact with state paid leave laws and how to keep the law from hastening the Social Security Trust Fund's 2034 insolvency date.

Paid family leave proposals have been swirling on Capitol Hill for years, but the U.S. remains the only industrialized nation without a federal paid leave policy.

Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOvernight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Congress reaches deal to fund government through Dec. 7, preventing shutdown Dems demand Sessions restore asylum for victims of violence MORE (Conn.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHealthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? Washington turns focus to child nutrition The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — McConnell warns of GOP `knife fight’ to keep Senate control MORE (Va.) were quick the criticize the proposal.

In statements, DeLauro called the plan "woefully insufficient," while Scott expressed fears about shortchanging Social Security benefits for seniors.

"Workers should not have to permanently cut their Social Security retirement benefits in order to spend time with a newborn child, and any paid leave plan that reflects the needs of working people and families must address the need to deal with a personal or family member's serious illness," DeLauro said.

DeLauro has introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, a companion bill to legislation from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandTeen girls pen open letter supporting Kavanaugh accuser: We imagine you at that party and 'see ourselves' Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — GOP again has momentum on Kavanaugh rollercoaster MORE (D-N.Y.) in the Senate. 

That bill charges each employee and employer a 0.2 percent tax. The money is then polled to give workers 12 weeks of leave where they can receive 66 percent of their monthly wages.

Read the story here

 

REG ROUNDUP

Guns: When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) asked for comments about bump stocks -- the device used by a Las Vegas gunman to massacre nearly 60 people at a concert last fall -- the overwhelming response was to oppose any new rules on their sale or use.

The agency has received more than 36,000 comments on the issue since asking for responses in December. The comment period ended late last month.

Though ATF has not proposed any specific regulations for bump stocks, most of the responses deal with whether the products should be regulated, according to an analysis from The Trace, a publication tied to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.

The analysis from The Trace found that only 13 percent of the 32,000 comments it looked at supported regulating the devices.

Megan R. Wilson has the story here

 

Tech: A trade group representing internet giants including Google and Facebook is throwing its support behind a bill that would reverse the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rules.

The Internet Association (IA) on Thursday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal GOP making counteroffer to Kavanaugh accuser The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins MORE (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.) arguing that the FCC rules should be reinstated.

"Strong net neutrality rules are necessitated by, among other factors, the lack of competition in the broadband service market," Michael Beckerman, the group's CEO, wrote. "More than half of all Americans have no choice in their provider, and 87 percent of rural Americans have no choice."

Harper Neidig has the story here

 

Finance: More than 30 senators are asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for details about their investigation into last year's massive Equifax data breach following reports the agency has been dragging its feet on the probe.

The group, led by Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Energy: Warren bill would force companies to disclose climate impacts | Green group backs Gillum in Florida gov race | Feds to open refuge near former nuke site Warren wants companies to disclose more about climate change impacts Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana MORE (D-Hawaii), sent a letter to the CFPB, dated Feb. 7, which cites a Reuters report that Acting Director Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyProtect the Military Lending Act On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Warren suggests Mulvaney broke law by speaking to GOP donors MORE has not approved a number of preliminary steps in the investigation.

"The CFPB has a statutory mandate to participate in this process by conducting an investigation," the senators wrote. "If that investigation exposes wrongdoing or consumer harm, the CFPB has the authority, and indeed a duty, to bring appropriate enforcement actions."

Harper Neidig has the story here

 

More finance: The Senate Financial Services Committee on Thursday approved three of President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE's major financial regulatory nominations.

The panel voted to recommend Jelena McWilliams to be chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Marvin Goodfriend to be a governor on the Federal Reserve Board and Thomas Workman to be the Financial Stability Oversight Council member with insurance industry experience.

The panel voted largely along party lines to recommend the nominees to the full Senate. All will play critical roles in the Trump administration's efforts to rollback the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Sylvan Lane has the story here

 

But Senate conservatives are threatening Goodfriend's nomination. More from Sylvan:

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Senate approves 4B spending bill Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters Thursday that he would vote against Marvin Goodfriend's nomination to be a Fed governor, according to multiple reports, citing the economist's unconventional monetary policy proposals.

And a spokesman for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told The Hill that the conservative senator was "undecided" on Goodfriend's nomination.

Paul's opposition means Goodfriend must receive unanimous support from the 50 other Senate Republicans to be confirmed, including Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ MORE, who has missed votes while he recovers from treatment for brain cancer at home in Arizona.

Goodfriend, a Carnegie Mellon professor and former Richmond Fed senior vice president, has drawn criticism for incorrect predictions about rampant inflation during the early 2010s and proposals meant to reduce the value of cash withdrawn from banks in times of crisis.

Sylvan has the story here.

 

Energy: A handful of Canadian companies that make solar panels are suing the Trump administration over the 30-percent tariffs the president imposed last month on their products.

In their lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the United States Court of International Trade, the three companies say that since Canadian solar imports do not harm United States producers, the tariffs violate the Trade Act and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The companies bringing the lawsuit are Silfab Solar Inc., Heliene Inc. and Canada Solar Solutions Inc.

In response to a plea by two ailing U.S. solar companies last year, President Trump in January put a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules from any country except developing ones.

Timothy Cama has more here.

 

Finance: President Trump is nominating California tax lawyer Charles Rettig to be commissioner of the IRS, the White House said Thursday.

The nomination comes as the IRS works to implement the new tax-cut bill that Trump signed in December.

Rettig has experience representing clients before the IRS and the Justice Department's tax division. He also served as chairman of the IRS Advisory Council, has served on advisory boards in California and serves as vice chairman of the administration of the American Bar Association's taxation section.

Naomi Jagoda has the story.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Ben Carson, or the tale of the disappearing Cabinet secretary – The Washington Post 

On tour with Notorious R.B.G., judicial rock star – The New York Times 

Jeff Sessions: marijuana helped cause the opioid epidemic. The research: no – Vox 

Trump administration may block permanent residency requests for visa recipients who receive government benefits – The Washington Examiner