Today on the Hill: Senate Reg Bill Passes Procedural Hurdle; NEC Director Cohn Announces Resignation

A major banking regulatory relief bill (S.2155) continues to make its way through the Senate, clearing a key procedural hurdle yesterday after cloture was successfully invoked (67-32) on the motion to proceed. Seventeen Democrats joined all voting Republicans in backing the measure, which has been strongly opposed by the more liberal members of the Democratic caucus. Debate on the measure will continue today, with a manager’s amendment constituting the final package expected to be submitted over the next few days.

The House only has one bill on its docket for the day, namely a measure that would exempt certain kilns from emissions regulations and extend compliance dates for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules on air pollutants. The bill (H.R. 1917) — which was passed by the House in the 114th Congress, but ignored by the Senate — would delay the enforcement date for the EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) until after current cases pending before federal courts are decided. For that reason, the measure is fiercely opposed by environmentalists and most Democrats, with today’s vote expected to be along party lines.

In notable administration activity, Gary Cohn, the Director of the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC), announced that he planned to resign yesterday in what is reportedly a response to the President’s decision to implement tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Cohn, a registered Democrat and investment banker, was considered one of the key “establishment” voices in the White House and has opposed some of the ‘economic nationalism’ policies pushed by other White House economic officials, such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro. The President tweeted last night that he would be making a decision on who would replace Cohn “soon.”