The Regulatory Week in Review: July 29, 2011

Funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expired July 22, forcing furloughs that will continue indefinitely as the Senate and House struggle to reconcile an FAA spending bill. The Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a strategy to promote sustainability in the electronics market through a public-private partnership. The program includes commitments by Dell, Sprint, and Sony to develop energy-efficient electronics and grow the domestic electronics recycling market. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a rule banning deceptive claims about consumer mortgages in advertising and other commercial communications. The EPA published a final rule requiring warning labels at the pump to prevent misfueling of vehicles that are unable to run on gasoline with a 15% ethanol content. In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced plans to improve regulations developed decades ago that regulate the conduct of research involving human subjects. A bill pending on the House floor would cut the EPA budget by $1.5 billion and the Interior Department's budget by $300 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a rule that imposes new identification requirements on traders in large amounts of securities in order to track their trading activity more efficiently. The SEC staff released a report recommending that broker-dealers improve training for employees and implement new oversight for the sale of structured securities products. The study focused on eleven broker-dealers and found the firms may have engaged in questionable sales practices. The Institute of Medicine released a report recommending a tougher Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medical device approval process. The report reportedly is being challenged by a group of business interests but may still influence the FDA.

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