Senate Republicans voted to strike down a sweeping new rule that would have allowed millions of Americans to band together in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions. Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to further loosen regulation of Wall Street as the Trump administration and Republicans move to roll back Obama-era policies enacted after the 2008 economic crisis. By defeating the rule, Republicans are dismantling a major effort of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by Congress in the aftermath of the mortgage mess.
Leading House Republicans announced two new probes, one into how the Obama administration’s Justice Department handled a deal that gave Russia control over 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply, and the other into how it investigated Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. Republican lawmakers who announced the uranium probe said they want to know more about whether Obama’s Department of Justice was investigating the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company in 2010. The agreement was reached while Clinton led the State Department and some investors in the company had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated large sums to the Clinton Foundation.
The Senate has passed a $36.5 billion emergency aid measure to refill disaster accounts, provide a much-needed cash infusion to Puerto Rico, and bail out the federal flood insurance program with $16 billion so that it can keep paying claims. The 82-17 vote sends the measure to the White House, which says President Donald Trump will sign it. It comes as government reserves for disaster response and flood insurance claims are running out. The disaster bill brings the total approved by Congress during this fall’s disastrous hurricane season to more than $50 billion — and that’s before requests expected soon to cover damage to water and navigation projects, crop losses, damage to public buildings and infrastructure, and to help homeowners without flood insurance rebuild their homes.
The Trump administration proposed that nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico be made available for companies wanting to purchase federal oil and gas leases — the largest offering ever in the United States. In announcing the sale, the Interior Department compared the targeted waters to “about the size of New Mexico” and said the first lease sales off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are scheduled for March next year.