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Is Secretary Perez Listening?

Members of Congress still have a lot to say about a Department of Labor proposal that will make it harder for low- and middle-class families to save for retirement. While policymakers have already spoken out on the regulatory proposal, it’s clear that concerns persist – even among those in the president’s own party. In fact, as the Wall Street Journal notes, “bipartisan opposition is mounting because there’s no indication Team Obama is altering its regulatory course.”

In a recent letter to the department, nearly 100 House Democrats wrote:


[W]e continue to hear from constituents, academics, providers, and investors that there are specific provisions of the Rule that may cause market disruptions and limit the ability of segments of the market to reasonably access advice … In order to have a successfully implemented rule, it is vital that the proposal doesn’t limit consumer choice and access to advice, have a disproportionate impact on lower- or middle-income communities, or raise the costs of saving for retirement … We urge the Department to continue to seek a balanced approach to both consumer protection and access to retirement investment advice for all Americans.


Sound familiar? More than a dozen Senate Democrats recently raised similar concerns. And back in July, House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans called on the department to withdraw its proposal because:


Our nation’s workers, small business owners, and retirees deserve better than this proposal, which will result in less financial advice and higher costs for those saving for retirement. Like its flawed predecessor, this regulatory proposal should similarly be discarded.


While some would rather silence critics of this regulatory scheme, a better approach would be to heed these bipartisan concerns and change course. With so much at stake, let's hope the secretary is listening and willing to do just that.


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