Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule

Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule
© Greg Nash

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It's Monday evening and Washington is poring over President TrumpDonald TrumpDonald Trump Jr. calls Bruce Springsteen's dropped charges 'liberal privilege' Schiff sees challenges for intel committee, community in Trump's shadow McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE's fiscal 2019 budget and the long-awaited $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.



President Trump on Monday rolled out a White House budget that includes deep cuts to some federal agencies, an increase in funding for the Pentagon and $18 billion for a wall on the Mexican border.

It includes proposals to cut deficits by more than $3 trillion over a decade and lower debt levels as a percentage of the gross domestic product, but does not balance by doing away with annual deficits.


It also includes funding for Trump's long-awaited infrastructure plan, which was put off in the president's first year in office to focus on efforts to repeal ObamaCare and pass tax cuts. It seeks $200 billion in government funds to stimulate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments.

Many of the biggest cuts are for regulatory and oversight agencies -- more on that below.

Like other presidential budgets its unlikely to become law, but the fiscal blueprint provides details on the administration's priorities in an election year.

Naomi Jagoda has the big picture here.

The Hill's Brett Samuels also rounds up a list of 22 agencies and programs Trump's budget would eliminate.



Finance: President Trump's fiscal 2019 budget would give Congress control over key financial regulators created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

The budget proposes subjecting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and the Office of Financial Research (OFR) to the congressional appropriations process.

That would give lawmakers broad authority to change those agencies, something Republicans have long sought to do.

The White House budget proposes placing the agencies, all independently funded from other federal entities, under Congress's control by 2020. The budget proposes steep cuts to the regulators, whose work has been fiercely defended by Democrats. Trump offered similar proposals in his fiscal 2018 budget released last year.

Sylvan Lane has the story here.


Environment: The Trump administration is asking Congress to cut "duplicative" environmental review procedures as part of the president's massive infrastructure plan.

The 55-page plan released Monday morning seeks to speed reviews and cut "inefficiencies," including through what officials are calling a "one agency, one decision" paradigm, for the review process.

It answers complaints from President Trump and Republicans that environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) create unnecessary delays and hurdles that are holding back infrastructure projects.

The administration's plan says the proposed changes would "protect the environment while at the same time delivering projects in a less costly and more time effective manner."

Timothy Cama has the details.


Environment: President Trump's budget proposal for fiscal 2019 contains a 25 percent cut to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The plan, released Monday, calls for the agency's overall funding to drop to $6.1 billion, down from the $8 billion Congress enacted in 2017.

The proposed reductions are in line with the steep cuts -- just over 30 percent -- that the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed for the agency for fiscal 2018. In fact, according to the text of the budget proposal, OMB originally suggested even deeper cuts this year for the agency -- a 34 percent decrease -- but the numbers were raised following Congress's decision last week to raise spending caps.

Miranda Green's story is here.


Environment: The Trump administration is proposing to repeal most of the requirements of a 2016 rule meant to reduce wasted methane from oil and natural gas drilling on federal land.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said most of the main components of the Obama administration's rules -- which require drillers to write leak-minimization plans, update equipment and detect leaks, among other actions -- were overly burdensome.

Methane is both the main component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas.

"In order to achieve energy dominance through responsible energy production, we need smart regulations, not punitive regulations," Joe BalashJoseph (Joe) BalashTop Trump Interior official joins oil company in Alaska after resignation Interior official threatens to withhold jobs in lawmakers' districts after opposition to BLM move Overnight Energy: Trump officials gut DC staff for public lands agency to move West | Democrats slam EPA over scientific boards | Deepwater Horizon most litigated environmental issue of decade MORE, Interior's assistant secretary for land and minerals management, said Monday of the administration's proposed revision.

"We believe this proposed rule strikes that balance and will allow job growth in rural America."

The Monday action is in line with President Trump's promise to slash what he sees as barriers to fossil fuel production.

Timothy Cama has the story.


Health care: The Department of Health and Human Services would face an $18 billion cut under the budget proposal released by the Trump administration Monday, a 21 percent decrease from 2017. Under the proposal, HHS would get $68.4 billion for the 2019 budget year.

Nearly every agency under HHS would see a funding cut. The exceptions would be the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Indian Health Service, which would all see modest increases.

The administration requested $10.9 billion for 2019 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a cut of more than $1 billion.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would face a reduction of $688 million cut, coming out to about $3.5 billion for 2019. 

Jessie Hellmann has more here.


Health care: The White House budget for fiscal 2019 seeks major savings by repealing ObamaCare and endorses a Senate GOP bill as the best way to do so.

"The Budget supports a two-part approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, starting with enactment of legislation modeled closely after the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill as soon as possible," the White House said in its budget request.

The legislation from Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJohn Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Parliamentarian nixes minimum wage hike in coronavirus bill McConnell says he'd back Trump as 2024 GOP nominee MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyBill CassidyOvernight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks Koch-backed group launches ads urging lawmakers to reject COVID-19 relief bill Biden health nominee faces first Senate test MORE (R-La.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonCruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Pelosi: Dems want commission focused on Capitol mob attack Pelosi jokes about Sen. 'Don' Johnson MORE (R-Wis.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.) would replace ObamaCare with a series of block grants to states.

The budget proposes over $90 billion in savings over 10 years if the Graham-Cassidy bill were enacted. Combined with other provisions like Medicaid changes, the White House projects there would be nearly $675 billion in savings over a decade tied to repealing ObamaCare.

But repeal is not high on the agenda for lawmakers in 2018.

Nathaniel Weixel has the details.


Health care: President Trump's budget is proposing moving two grants out of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a major change that's already sparked a backlash from lawmakers and more than 150 advocacy organizations.

The administration has justified the proposal for the anti-drug office in its budget, saying it "will enable ONDCP to focus resources on its core mission: to reduce drug use and its consequences by leading and coordinating the development, implementation and assessment of U.S. drug policy."

Opponents argue the move would hamper the agency while the nation is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. They fear it would jeopardize the future of programs which help reduce substance abuse in youth and coordinate efforts to clamp down on drug trafficking.

Specifically, the proposal would move the Drug Free Communities Support Program and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program into the Health and Human Services Department and Justice Department, respectively.

Read Rachel Roubein's article here.


Labor: Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democrats in standoff over minimum wage Democrats plan crackdown on rising drug costs MORE (D-Va.) railed against President Trump on Monday for calling on Congress to give agency heads more power to fire federal employees.

"I don't want to give a power-hungry president an easier hand to sack people that are doing their jobs because he's worried that them doing their jobs may cause him to have to be accountable," he told a ballroom of federal workers on the second day of the American Federation of Government Employee's (AFGE) annual conference.

During his State of the Union address, Trump praised the VA Accountability Act, a law he signed last year to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees accused of misconduct, and called for similar powers to be extended to all agencies.

A Republican proposal has been introduced in the House to make all new federal workers at-will employees, but Kaine told The Hill it wouldn't have the votes needed in the Senate. 

The largest union representing federal and D.C. government workers says the civil service is under attack from Republicans following a hiring freeze, two government shutdowns and efforts to expand the VA Accountability Act to the Department of Labor.

Read more from Lydia Wheeler here.


Energy: The Trump administration Monday proposed significantly slashing a handful of controversial loan and research programs at the Department of Energy (DOE).

The cuts to programs meant to help develop innovative energy technologies, which President Trump outlined in his budget request for fiscal 2019, come after he proposed eliminating them all last year.

The Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program, the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee Program and the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) are widely popular among Democrats and some Republicans, and lawmakers worked to restore at least some of the funding last year after Trump sought to zero them out.

Timothy Cama's story is here.


Energy: President Trump's fiscal 2019 budget unveiled Monday would use energy sales on public lands to help fund infrastructure projects for the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Overall, the blueprint from the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) proposes cutting Interior's budget by 14 percent, from $13.2 billion in 2017 to $11.7 billion in 2018.

The latest budget, though, increases funding for DOI programs that "support safe and responsible development of energy on public lands and offshore waters," according to its text. It includes a proposal for creating a fund that would be financed by sales of energy resources on DOI-managed parkland.

The Public Lands Infrastructure Fund would aim to provide up to $18 billion to address what Interior calls the department's "deferred maintenance backlog," according to a press release from the agency. The fund would support necessary infrastructure projects for building roads and visitor centers in national parks. 

Read Miranda Green's report here.


Finance: President Trump said Monday that he will propose a tax on imports as soon as this week in an effort to crack down on what he believes are unfair trade practices.

"We're going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you'll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months," Trump said at the White House while rolling out his infrastructure plan.

"We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries," the president added. "We are going to charge countries outside of our country ... Some of them are so-called allies, but they are not allies on trade."

Trump proposed a similar tax last year, but the idea ran into opposition on Capitol Hill.

Jordan Fabian explains here.


Tech: A regional court in Germany has found Facebook's default privacy settings and use of personal data it collects from users to be in violation of consumer protection laws.

The Berlin court found that Facebook did not provide users enough information for them to understand how their data is being collected and that any agreements users signed did not constitute meaningful consent.

VZBV, the German privacy advocacy group that filed the suit, argued that data collection agreements that Facebook users are automatically opted into don't give users enough notice about what they're agreeing to.

The court ruled that several Facebook default data sharing settings did not count as consent from the user. Facebook, though, plans to appeal the decision.

Read more from Ali Breland.


Census: State Attorneys General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraThe Memo: Biden faces first major setback as Tanden teeters The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help Overnight Health Care: Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe, effective in FDA analysis | 3-4 million doses coming next week | White House to send out 25 million masks MORE (D-Calif.), Eric Schneiderman (D-N.Y.) and Maura Healey (D-Mass.), joined by 16 others sent a blistering letter Monday warning Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossFormer Trump officials find tough job market On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE against approving a question about citizenship status in the 2020 Census.

Doing so, they said, would be unconstitutional. Adding a citizenship question this late in the planning for the 2020 Census, they also argued, "would significantly depress participation, causing a population undercount that would disproportionately harm states and cities with large immigrant communities."

Lydia Wheeler has the story here.



The House Rules Committee takes up the Protecting Consumers Access to Credit Act.

The Senate Budget Committee hears from White House Budget Director Mick Mulaney on the president's fiscal 2019 blueprint.

The Senate Health Committee holds a hearing on reauthorizing the FDA's animal drug user fees.

The Brookings Institution holds an event on the GOP tax law: "The tax cuts and jobs act - the new business tax landscape



Teachers unions kept from delivering complaints to DeVos (The Hill)

New Interior Dept. order expands hunting access on western land (The Hill)

What the Wells Fargo crackdown signals to corporate America -- The New York Times

Wells Fargo fumbles efforts to repay aggrieved customers -- The Wall Street Journal

New tax law haunts companies that did 'inversion' deals -- The Wall Street Journal

IMF chief: Cryptocurrency regulation 'inevitable' -- CNN Money

Bitcoin closes in on $9000 as regulatory fears peter out -- Bloomberg

Fox beefs up Sky News remedies in bid for regulatory clearance -- Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank, trader settle SEC charges over bond prices -- Reuters

Shell settles state, US clean air violations at Louisiana plant -- Reuters

Air bag danger: Ford, Mazda add 35K pickups to do-not-drive list -- Associated Press

Opinion: Trump's regulatory rollback for the U.S. economy is a dud -- so far -- MarketWatch

Opinion: A better way to provide a 'right to try' -- Bloomberg View