Monday, November 14, 2016

Committee Hearings – Week of 11-13-16

Congress heads back to Washington today to start their lame duck session. What will be accomplished in this session is more up in the air than normal because of the unexpected (by most folks) results of last week’s election. The hearing schedule is pretty light this week (and will probably change as the week progresses) with only one hearing of possible specific interest to readers of this blog.

Automated Vehicles

On Wednesday, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on “The Automated & Self-Driving Vehicle Revolution: What Is the Role of Government?” The witness list includes:

• Mark Rosekind, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
• Deborah Hersman, National Safety Council;
• Paul Brubaker, The Alliance for Transportation Innovation; and
• Nidhi Kalra, RAND Center for Decision Making Under Uncertainty

On the Floor

Nothing of specific interest to readers of this blog is currently scheduled to make it to the floor of the House this week. I do want to briefly mention one bill, however, that will be considered under a rule this Wednesday; HR 5982, Midnight Rules Relief Act of 2016.

This bill is being touted as a way to stop some of the last minute regulations being promulgated by the outgoing Obama Administration. While it looks like it targets any regulation issued in the last year of an outgoing Administration, it does nothing to change the 60-day requirement for the introduction of a joint resolution of disapproval in 5 USC 802(a). It may make it easier to obtain a favorable vote on such a resolution (and more importantly on a subsequent veto override vote) by bundling a number of rules into the same resolution. Such bundling could provide for some vote trading to get enough votes to override a presidential veto.

Veto overrides are tough (especially in the current congressional split). That means that for these disapproval resolutions to really be effective is for the approved bill to be sent to the new President for signing, evading the possibility of a veto. This effectively means that only regulations published in the last two months of the outgoing administration really have any real chance of being cancelled by Congress in this manner. This is one of the reasons that the Obama Administration’s OMB has been trying real hard to ensure that any potentially offensive regulations have already been published.

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