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U.S. Prolongs Uncertainty Over Tariffs

US delays decision on tariffs for EU, prolonging uncertainty. U.S. News: "The U.S. government will take another 30 days to decide whether to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, extending a period of uncertainty for businesses in those regions. The delay helps the U.S. avoid a potential trade war with allies as it prepares for tense trade talks in China this week. But the EU slammed the decision as bad for business that "prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions. 'As a longstanding partner and friend of the U.S., we will not negotiate under threat,' the EU said in a statement Tuesday. The Trump administration said Monday it had reached an agreement with South Korea on steel imports following discussions on a revised trade agreement. And the administration said it had also reached agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil on steel and aluminum that will be finalized shortly."

Election Watchdog At Brink Of Shutdown

The Federal agency that oversees campaign finance laws is on the rink of shutting down. Time: "The FEC, in the midst of a critical midterm election campaign, is teetering on the brink of a de facto shutdown: If one commissioner retires, resigns or otherwise isn’t present, the agency that regulates and enforces campaign money laws loses its four-commissioner quorum and can’t conduct high-level business. No passing rules. No penalizing scofflaws. No providing official advice to political committees seeking it... Trump has so far been decidedly Obamaesque in his indifference toward the FEC. While Trump routinely rails against Democratic obstruction of his various executive branch nominees — 'disgraceful!' — the lack of new FEC commissioners is a function of Trump failing to nominate anyone to the agency save for Texas attorney Trey Trainor. Trump first nominated Trainor, a Republican who supported Trump’s presidential campaign, more than seven months ago to replace Petersen, Trump’s failed pick for a U.S. District Court judgeship."

CFPB Equifax Complaints Go Unanswered

Twenty thousand CFPB complaints get no response. Vox: "Since Equifax announced that a data breach had left the personal information of tens of millions of people exposed last September, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the US government’s top consumer watchdog — has received more than 20,000 complaints about the company, which is about double the number it received in the six months before. Equifax has said the CFPB is investigating, but thus far the agency hasn’t taken any action. Acting Director Mick Mulvaney is instead trying to make the bureau’s complaint portal private so the public won’t even be able to see what’s happening. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), however, would like to know what’s up."

EPA Grants "Financial Hardship" Waiver To Billionaire Icahn

U.S. EPA grants biofuels waiver to billionaire Icahn's oil refinery. Reuters: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted a financial hardship waiver to an oil refinery owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, exempting the Oklahoma facility from requirements under a federal biofuels law, according to two industry sources briefed on the matter. The waiver enables Icahn’s CVR Energy Inc (CVI.N) to avoid tens of millions of dollars in costs related to the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The regulation is meant to cut air pollution, reduce petroleum imports and support corn farmers by requiring refiners to mix billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation’s gasoline and diesel each year. An early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential run and a key supporter on Wall Street, Icahn had met with Pruitt when Pruitt was being vetted in late 2016 for the EPA administrator job."

Trump Names "Lock Her Up" Lawyer To Key EPA Post

Trump to fill West Coast EPA post with lawyer who coined 'lock her up' chant. The Hill: "Michael Stoker, a former Republican Santa Barbara County supervisor and agriculture attorney, will soon head the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regional office that oversees the entire Pacific Southwest, E&E News reported Monday. Stoker is perhaps best known for coining the 'lock her up' chant about Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton when at the 2016 Republican National Convention. The phrase was then routinely used by President Trump to attack Clinton on the campaign trail. Stoker was also a reported contender for a spot on the National Labor Relations Board. He was nominated in January to serve as director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service but never came before the Senate for confirmation."

GOP May Push For Full ACA Repeal Before Midterms

Conservatives plan to take one last shot at ACA repeal before midterms. NYM: "GOP leaders have all but packed it in for this Congress, believing the 2017 tax bill and confirmation of Trump appointees is a sufficient legacy to carry into the midterms. And the Trump administration is doing its best to undermine Obamacare via regulatory “reforms” and waivers, without further agony in Congress. Additionally, Congress does not plan to enact a budget resolution this year, the condition precedent for crafting a budget reconciliation bill that can pass the Senate with a mere majority. Nonetheless, there are periodic reports of conservative plotting to make one more push before the midterms."

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Protect the Workers Who Save Our Lives. Leo Gerard: "Working in a hospital, nursing home or ambulance is dangerous. Sometimes fatally so. Collaboration between labor and management on how to prevent injuries is important in preventing health care workers from becoming health care victims. But national standards are essential to protect health care and social service workers, not just at enlightened facilities, but across the country."

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