EPA Proposed Wage Garnishing Rule Meets Heavy Resistance

On July 2, 2014, the EPA published a Federal Register notice titled “Administrative Wage Garnishment” claiming it has the authority to bypass the courts and unilaterally garnish wages of individuals owing debts to the Agency. We mentioned it here.

The proposed Direct Final Rule was withdrawn on July 17, 2014, in response to the receipt of adverse comments. Indeed, EPA head Gina McCarthy received an adverse comment letter from GOP Senators that called the proposal an unwarranted grant of power over private citizens. In response to the adverse comment, the EPA withdrew the proposed final rule, but will move forward with a draft rule, which remains open for comment. The feedback will be considered before the agency issues another final regulation. The comment period has been extended until September 2, 2014.

Congressional Republicans also took action, attaching an amendment to spending legislation prohibiting the EPA from implementing the rule. The spending bill was approved, despite Congressional Democrats’ opposition, but will move on to the Democratic-led Senate where it likely faces more opposition.