Business Briefs – February 6, 2018

Senate Moves Closer to Passing Bill to Ease Bank Safeguards

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate moved closer Tuesday to passing legislation to roll back some of the safeguards Congress put in place to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. Enough Democrats supported a procedural vote on the bipartisan bill to show it had a good chance of passage by the Republican-majority Senate. The move to alter some key aspects of the Dodd-Frank law comes ten years after the financial crisis rocked the nation’s economy.

Payday Lenders, Watchdog Agency Exhibit Cozier Relationship

NEW YORK (AP) — The former CEO of a payday lending company that had been under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has asked to be considered for the top job at the watchdog agency, The Associated Press has learned. Such a request would have been extraordinary in the years when the agency was run by an Obama appointee and often targeted payday lenders. Along with recent actions taken by the CFPB, it suggests a cozier relationship between industry and regulator.

Zinke Says Interior Should Be a Partner With Oil Companies

HOUSTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says his agency should be a partner with energy companies that seek to drill for oil and gas on public land. Speaking at a major energy-industry conference, Zinke described the Trump administration’s efforts to increase offshore drilling, reduce regulations, and streamline inspections of oil and gas operators. He says that long regulatory reviews with an uncertain outcome are “un-American.”

Target’s Remake Is Accelerating, at a Cost

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is increasing the minimum hourly pay to $12 starting this spring, the second increase in a matter of months, while accelerating its reinvention plan to make the discounter more competitive in the age of Amazon. The discounter’s moves, announced at its annual investor meeting, come as its ambitious plan to remake itself are driving more people to its stores and its website. But its massive overhaul is coming at a cost.

White House Wants User-Friendly Electronic Health Records

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration says it wants to make electronic medical records easier for patients to use. The new initiative called MyHealthEData will be overseen by the White House Office of American Innovation, headed by presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. Medicare will play a major role. Administrator Seema Verma said Medicare is working on a program called Blue Button 2.0, with the goal of providing beneficiaries with secure access to their claims data, shareable with their doctors.

Washington Legislators Tackle Homelessness for Those on Aid

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state lawmakers are advancing a measure that would prohibit landlords from turning away tenants that rely on federal housing assistance, Social Security income and veterans benefits. It’s one of several efforts by Washington politicians and low-income housing advocates aimed at curbing one of the highest homeless rates in the nation.