Funeral services take place for former President George H.W. Bush, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping pause tariff increases for 90 days, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- Funeral services memorialized and laid to rest former President George H.W. Bush, a World War II aviator, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the 41st President of the United States. His regulatory accomplishments included signing into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act.
- President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day pause on tariff actions between their two countries. During this period, the two intend to negotiate issues including intellectual property, cybersecurity, and the elimination of trade barriers. In what President Trump described as a “game changer,” President Xi also agreed to designate fentanyl—an opioid—as a controlled substance, which will subject people to “China’s maximum penalty under the law” for selling the drug to purchasers in the United States.
- President Trump stated his intention to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He claimed that withdrawing would open the door for Congress to approve the newly-signed United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement as a replacement for NAFTA.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Department of Finance of Canada, and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico established the Canada-Mexico-United States Financial Regulatory Forum to “enhance regulatory dialogue on financial sector developments and financial regulatory practices and procedures.” The forum intends to meet annually to help the three countries “manage common risks” and “promote open and efficient markets.”
- For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized a public genetic database as “a source of valid scientific evidence.” According to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, formally recognizing the database, maintained by the Clinical Genome Resource and funded by the National Institutes of Health, will result in “more rapid development” of genetic tests that can help patients access “targeted medical care.”
- In denying a Freedom of Information Act request for records concerning the decision to repeal net neutrality, U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai acknowledged Russian involvement in the comment process. Pai stated that Russian email addresses accounted for nearly one half-million comments, and that 8 million other comments came from fake email accounts. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel dissented against the denial of the request, claiming that the FCC was trying to hide “the mess it made of net neutrality.”
- U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced the Global Electoral Exchange Act, which would establish a program at the U.S. Department of State for sharing election security information with other countries. “The threats to our democratic electoral process and those of other democracies across the globe should not be taken lightly,” stated Senator Sullivan. The legislation has already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but has not yet been scheduled for a vote in the U.S. Senate.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule that would change the Obama-era standards for carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants. Under the proposed rule, EPA would no longer require these power plants to install technology capable of capturing carbon dioxide emissions, deeming this technology too costly and geographically limited. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the rule would “keep energy prices affordable, and encourage new investments in cutting-edge technology,” but David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council called it “foolhardy” and “a disaster for the climate.”
- The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) passed new regulations to increase the average hourly wage for Uber and Lyft drivers. According to the TLC, drivers “previously had no earnings or minimum wage protections” and the new rules will raise average driver wages by almost $10,000 per year. Jason Post, Uber’s director of public affairs, reportedly stated that Uber supports “a living wage” but the new regulations will cause “higher than necessary fare increases for riders.”
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- In a paper for the 2018 Oxford Internet, Policy and Politics Conference, Arnav Joshi of the London School of Economics discussed the challenges of regulating sharing services such as Airbnb. Joshi noted that most large cities have focused on creating new taxes and limiting the duration of stays in Airbnb units. He suggested that regulators focus on consumer protection, although in the case of Airbnb, both guests and hosts may qualify as consumers depending on context. In addition, he emphasized the importance of limiting the data that companies such as Airbnb can gather from its consumers.
- In a recent article for the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Professor Simon Haeder of West Virginia University and Professor Susan Webb Yackee of the University of Wisconsin-Madison explored “the policy effects of presidentially directed change” during review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of proposed agency rules. Haeder and Yackee found that OIRA review did not tend to favor a sitting President’s political ideology and that OIRA did not rein in “extreme” agency proposals on both sides of the partisan aisle. Rather, their findings suggested that under both Presidents Bush and Obama the proposals of “liberally oriented agencies” were “systematically changed” by OIRA review more than agency proposals that were moderate or conservative.
- Systemic risk in banking can pose unique challenges for regulators, wrote Allan Amalia of China’s Donghua University for the International Journal of Business & Management. Current financial regulations are often “micro-based” and directed toward individual institutions, Amalia stated. But these micro-based regulations can fail to identify risks that are small for an individual institution, he argued, leading to larger problems in the financial system as a whole.