Biden’s 2,700-item to-do list targets climate and mental health (3)

President Joe biden released its second list of regulatory tasks on Friday, detailing nearly 2,700 agenda items that define its ambitions to change the environment, transportation and mental health care through the regulatory power of the federal government.

Regulations reducing climate superpollutants in refrigeration, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from light and heavy-duty vehicles and improving sidewalk design for people with disabilities are on the agenda, Sharon Block, senior politician from the White House regulatory office, said in a statement. Biden officials will also be looking at how to improve insurance coverage for mental health and addiction treatment, Block said.

The list, typically released twice a year, provides a window into how the Biden administration plans to use federal agencies in the New Year to advance its priorities. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has the longest list of agenda items, according to a Bloomberg government analysis. The Internal Revenue Service is second, with more than 150 rules on its list.

The agenda is not final. Agencies will need to complete a number of tasks before policies come into effect, including drafting rules and gathering feedback. The White House regulatory office, headed by Block for the time being, will approve each rule before it is released. Biden published his first regulation playbook in June.

Faced with near-unanimous Republican opposition in Congress, Biden has chosen to advance many of his priorities through regulation. However, it took the longest to appoint someone to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs since the position began requiring Senate confirmation in the late 1980s, Senate records show. .

House Republicans complained in October about Biden’s lack of a rule leader choice, and their Senate counterparts signaled they would never back whoever he chooses for the job. Only six Republicans backed President Barack Obama’s candidate for the post early in his presidency.

Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency is keeping its promise to redefine United States waters, or WOTUS, for the second time under the Biden administration.

In November, the EPA proposed a rule that would formally abolish a Trump-era definition, reducing wetland protections to an amended rule that was in place until 2015. In February, the EPA will go from there. forward with another definition based on public comments and experiences of implementing all previous wetland rules, in line with the regulatory agenda.

The agenda also calls on the Bureau of Land Management by March to come up with a rule on venting, flaring and leaking natural gas as a way to reduce methane emissions – a key commitment by the Biden administration. at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow last month. The rule is expected to be finalized in November 2022.

Labor

The US Department of Labor plans to release new regulations in April that would update overtime regulations and likely extend rate-and-a-half wages to more workers.

The National Labor Relations Board will also attempt to revamp its co-employer rule, which creates shared responsibility for violations of federal labor law and a joint obligation to negotiate with unions. An all-Republican NLRB issued regulations setting an employer-friendly standard for joint work during the Trump administration, which is the subject of an ongoing union lawsuit.

For the second program in a row, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, did not submit a regulatory plan.

Tax

Treasury plans include finalizing the final sets of rules in the 2017 tax overhaul, issuing new guidance on how companies should price their inter-group transactions, and finalizing an ongoing cloud computing project.

Officials recently said the agency would release final rules on foreign tax credits by the end of the year. These rules will finalize last year’s proposed regulations, which included the Treasury’s position that U.S. tech giants paying taxes on digital services in countries like France will not receive credit at home.

The Treasury also aims to advance several previously planned regulatory projects on how groups assess their intercompany transactions.

The Treasury is still seeking to finalize the rules for characterizing cloud computing transactions, proposed for the first time in 2019.

Health

The health ministry is moving forward with a final rule that would amend a privacy law to make it easier for doctors and hospitals to coordinate patient care.

Also on the agenda, the Biden administration’s efforts to set up a dispute resolution group to oversee the fighting in a federal drug rebate program that has sparked numerous challenges in the courts. federal. The 340B Drug Rebate Program helps low-income Americans by requiring drug manufacturers to supply products to certain health care entities at reduced prices. Scheduled for January 2022, the new rule will propose new procedures for the dispute review panel.

Private life

The Federal Trade Commission will consider enforcing new rules to protect consumers from lax corporate security practices, limit privacy breaches, and ensure algorithmic decision-making does not lead to illegal discrimination.

Banking

Banking regulators have said they plan to propose a long-awaited rewrite of a 1977 law requiring banks to lend and invest in low to moderate income communities, and may lead to limits on their mergers and other growths. if regulators find that they haven’t. does enough for these communities.


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