Republicans to kill U.S. rules on corruption, environment, labor and guns next week

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By Lisa Lambert

<span class="articleLocation”>Congressional Republicans are set to overturn a
slew of Obama-era regulations next week, including a
controversial anti-bribery rule aimed at U.S. resource companies
such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp,
according to a top lawmaker.

After six years of legal battles, the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission in June approved the rule requiring
companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. It will
probably be killed swiftly with two simple congressional votes.

Other rules eyed for quick overturning by Congress include
newly minted environmental, gun control and labor relations
measures, sources said.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can use simple
majority votes to stop recent regulations in their tracks. The
timing in the law means that any rules that became final after
May 31 could go on the chopping block.

House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the
second-most powerful Republican in the chamber, had said he
would start using that law quickly after President Donald Trump
was inaugurated to help roll back regulations the party
considers abusive. House Republicans have been on a blitz of
regulatory reform, passing bills to drive down regulations’
costs and create more congressional oversight.

The Republican-dominated House will bypass the committee
process and go directly to a vote by the entire chamber on a
half-dozen resolutions, McCarthy’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

Further rule reversals are likely to come out of various
committees, Representative Greg Walden, a Republican from
Oregon, said on Tuesday.

Given the resolutions only require simple majorities to
pass, they will probably sail through the House and then pass
the Senate, where Democrats, the minority party, cannot mount a
filibuster against them. They could then zoom to the White House
for fellow Republican Trump to sign.

But Walden also said the Congressional Review Act broadly
wipes out entire regulations and forbids agencies from writing
new versions in their place. That could be dangerous for a rule
with some provisions that Republicans support, he said.

Earlier this month, McCarthy said the House would try to
kill regulations protecting streams and forests from coal
mining’s impacts, curbing methane leaks on public lands, and
requiring employers to report workers’ information as part of an
attempt to end pay discrimination.

Reforming regulations is as high a priority as undoing the
Affordable Care Act and rewriting the tax code, he said.

In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on Wednesday, he also
added a rule expanding background checks on gun purchases for
disabled Social Security recipients to the hit list, as well as
the anti-bribery regulation.

Requiring companies to state publicly how much they pay
governments in taxes, royalties and other types of fees for
exploration and extraction was included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank
Wall Street reform law. Regulators struggled for years to make
it a reality as the companies said it would drive up their
costs.

Human rights group Oxfam in 2014 sued the SEC when it
stalled on drafting the rule, and in 2015 a federal judge
ordered the commission to fast-track it. The commission met the
judge’s deadline this summer, with the requirements set to take
effect in 2018.



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