Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill, the courts and beyond. It’s Monday evening and both the House and Senate are in session with a busy agenda in the final month of the year.
THE BIG STORY:
The Supreme Court handed President Trump a major win by granting his administration’s request to fully reinstate the third version of his travel ban.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal district court in Maryland had said Trump could only block the entry of nationals from the six majority-Muslim countries in the ban — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad — if they lacked a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. The high court’s decision now puts those rulings on hold.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied the government’s request.
The state of Hawaii and the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) challenged Trump’s latest ban, arguing the Supreme Court carved out the same bona fide relationship exemption in June when it partially reinstated Trump’s 90-day ban on nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.
Trump issued new restrictions that eliminated Sudan from the ban but added Chad, North Korea and individuals affiliated with certain government agencies in Venezuela. The lower court bans did not block the restrictions on Venezuelan officials or immigrants from North Korea.
Bonus: Hear Lydia talk about tomorrow’s Supreme Court arguments–the case of the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple–on the Hillcast PM View podcast.
ON TAP FOR TUESDAY
Senate Banking Committee to vote on nomination of Jerome Powell to be Federal Reserve chairman
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing for Interior and Energy Department nominees.
A Senate Energy subcommittee will hold a hearing on a number of bills including one to update the Energy Policy Act.
National monuments: President Trump on Monday shank two massive, controversial national monuments in Utah, potentially opening thousands of acres to drilling, mining and grazing.
The reductions erase efforts to preserve the monuments by Presidents Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCarthy: Virginia election ‘makes me nervous’ Obama: If I watched Fox News ‘I wouldn’t vote for me’ Biden spotted getting his shoes shined at Denver airport MORE and Bill ClintonBill ClintonMcCarthy: Virginia election ‘makes me nervous’ ‘West Wing’ alums, ‘This is Us’ star talk reboot McAuliffe ‘seriously’ considering 2020 run MORE, and represent the largest-ever rollback of protected areas in history, environmental groups say.
Trump signed two proclamations, one scaling back Obama’s 1.4-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument to 220,000 acres — an 84 percent reduction — and another reducing Clinton’s 1.9-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to 1 million acres.
Both monuments in southern Utah have long been opposed by state leaders. Obama and Clinton created them under the Antiquities Act, which gives presidents authority to unilaterally protect any federally owned area from development, with few restrictions.
“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong,” Trump said during a visit to Salt Lake City where he made the announcement.
“The families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best and you know the best how to take care of your land.”
Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante had been at the center of a national debate over monuments and their permanence, fueled by an executive order earlier this year in which Trump asked Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeDem pushes for oversight on Trump officials using private jets Lack of transparency in national monuments review a disservice to Americans Trump to shrink national monuments next week: report MORE to review dozens of previously created monuments.
Plus: Five things to know about Trump’s national monuments order and what’s next.
And: Navajo nation promises lawsuit on monuments
Consumer agency: The acting chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said Monday he won’t fire his deputy director despite the lawsuit she filed against him for control of the agency.
“It’s always a challenge when you’re in a workplace with someone who’s suing you, and I’m a named defendant,” said Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyMulvaney: Authority I have at consumer bureau ‘should frighten people’ WH press secretary: Trump’s mark on the judiciary will last for ‘decades and decades’ GOP could punt funding fight to January MORE, the acting chief of the CFPB and director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Mulvaney responded with a “no” to a direct question about whether he’d fire Leandra English, the CFPB’s deputy director.
Mulvaney said his only contact with English since taking responsibility for the bureau on Nov. 27 has been through emails telling her to stop claiming to be the acting director and asking her to fulfill her specific duties as deputy director.
Sports betting: The Supreme Court on Monday appeared skeptical that a federal law can force New Jersey and the majority of states to ban sports betting.
The case stems from a lawsuit that the NCAA and pro sports leagues brought against New Jersey after it passed a law in 2012 to legalize and create a licensing system for sports gambling.
Two years after a lower court struck down the law as a violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), New Jersey partially repealed the state’s prohibition on sports wagering, but only for racetracks and casinos in the state.
PASPA can stop states from passing laws to legalize sports betting, but New Jersey argued that law can’t require states to keep banning it. The state said the law violates the court’s interpretation of the 10th Amendment as barring Congress from controlling how states regulate private parties.
Climate change: Rising sea levels could endanger thousands of important archaeological and historical sites in the next century, according to a new study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Washington Post reported the data, which found that global warming could result in sea levels rising by 3.3 feet by the year 2100, potentially threatening Jamestown in Virginia, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the tallest brick lighthouse in the U.S., in North Carolina.
Similar data published last year found that other world sites like Stonehenge and the Statue of Liberty could also be at risk.
If sea levels continue to rise as projected, there could be a 16.4-foot increase in the next few centuries, submerging more than 32,000 archaeological sites, according to the researchers.
More on climate change: The Trump administration is disbanding an interagency panel that was created to help cities deal with the effects of climate change.
Jesse Keenan, a Harvard University professor specializing in climate adaptation and chairman of the panel, told members at a Monday meeting that it would be their last, Bloomberg News reported.
“It was one of the last federal bodies that openly talked about climate change in public,” Keenan told Bloomberg. “I can say that we tried our best and we never self-censored!”
The Department of Commerce, whose National Institute of Standards and Technology oversaw the group, did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Digital currency: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new Cyber Unit on Monday filed its first charges against a digital currency fraud that had raised $15 million from investors.
The SEC took action against Dominic Lacroix and his company PlexCorps, who were issuing digital tokens as a part of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) scheme, according to the agency. Lacroix promised investments in his digital currency would yield an explosive 1,354 percent profit in just under a month.
The SEC found the claim false and immediately shut down his operation, which was running since August.
“This first Cyber Unit case hits all of the characteristics of a full-fledged cyber scam and is exactly the kind of misconduct the unit will be pursuing,” said Robert Cohen, chief of the Cyber Unit, according to the release. “We acted quickly to protect retail investors from this initial coin offering’s false promises.”
The unit was created in September to focus on fraud and abuse with digital currency and initial coin offerings and mitigate the spread of fake information on the internet and hacking of trading platforms.
Pipelines: A federal judge on Monday imposed a series of conditions on the Dakota Access pipeline, which is currently transporting oil while undergoing a court-ordered environmental review.
U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg ordered Dakota Access operators to coordinate an oil spill response plan with federal and tribal officials near Lake Oahe in North Dakota, conduct a third-party audit of the pipeline’s compliance with federal and state regulations, and produce bi-monthly reports on the pipeline’s operations.
Boasberg said the public has “an interest in ensuring the status quo at Lake Oahe is preserved” while the 1,170 mile, 570,000 barrel per day pipeline undergoes the new environmental review.
“The interim conditions … are instead a means by which the court can ensure that it receives up-to-date and necessary information about the operation of the pipeline and the facts on the ground,” he wrote in an opinion issued Monday morning.
Restaurant tips: The Trump administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that bans employers from pooling workers’ tips.
The Labor Department announced plans Monday to issue a proposed rule to change the Fair Labor Standards Act regulation and allow employers to pool the tips of workers who make full minimum wage and share them with non-tipped workers.
The National Restaurant Association has been fighting hard for the rule change to eliminate what it has said is a pay disparity between servers in the front of the house and staff in the kitchen.
But worker advocates worry the change will allow employers to do whatever they want with the tips — including taking a cut for themselves.
Net neutrality: Twenty-eight senators are calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay its vote on repealing its net neutrality rules next week, citing concerns over the possibility that the agency’s public comment file may be filled with fake comments.
The group, led by Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanTrump health nominee steps into the ObamaCare wars Manchin, Heitkamp won’t rule out voting for GOP tax bill Overnight Regulation: Senate tax bill to include ObamaCare mandate repeal | Sessions sidesteps questions on WH influence on AT&T merger | Dems seek more transparency on student borrower rule MORE (D-N.H.), wants the FCC to conduct an investigation into whether the net neutrality docket’s public comment record was tampered with.
“A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding,” the senators wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.”
The group included Sens. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP should reject the left’s pessimism and the deficit trigger Fallon: Trump’s empty seats photo probably reminded him of his inauguration Congress should represent Americans — not illegal aliens MORE (D-N.Y.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems set for abortion showdown in Illinois Bernie Sanders’s wife to MSNBC anchor: ‘Don’t ever use me to demean my husband’ The Memo: Trump’s Muslim tweets roil Britain MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenMulvaney: Authority I have at consumer bureau ‘should frighten people’ Overnight Defense: Speculation mounts over Tillerson’s future | Pentagon reverses course on banning cluster bombs | Panel approves controversial defense pick | 400 Marines leaving Syria Treasury watchdog probes lack of tax plan analysis from Mnuchin MORE (D-Mass.). All of the senators who signed the letter are net neutrality supporters.
Environment: Green and health groups sued the Trump administration Monday because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) missed a key deadline in enforcing a major air pollution rule.
The groups, including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and the American Lung Association, say the Clean Air Act required the EPA to say which areas of the country are not in compliance with 2015 ozone rule by Oct. 1, but it missed that deadline.
“We cannot stand by as an executive official flagrantly flouts the law. It’s dangerous and corrosive,” Seth Johnson, a staff attorney at Earthjustice, said in a statement.
An EPA spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying, “the agency doesn’t normally comment on pending litigation.”
ALSO IN THE NEWS
Five questions for the CVS-Aetna deal (The Hill)
Apple agrees to deal with Ireland over $15 billion unpaid tax issue (The Wall Street Journal)
EU, UK regulators look to crackdown on bitcoin (The Hill)
Senate’s ‘unpleasant surprise’ hurts tax breaks for tech, others (Bloomberg)
UK government mulls bitcoin regulation (BBC News)