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Roe Challenges Secretary Perez on Controversial Rule Affecting Retirement Advice

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez testified before the Committee on Education and the Workforce today at a hearing that examined a number of the department’s policies, including those affecting retirement security. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, reiterated bipartisan concerns with the department’s proposed fiduciary rule, which many believe will make it harder for low- and middle-income families to save for retirement. Rep. Roe urged the secretary to pull back the department’s extreme approach, and instead, support a responsible bipartisan alternative that will strengthen protections for savers and promote access to affordable retirement advice.

For many years now, you’ve stated that your goal in promoting the department’s “fiduciary” rulemaking was to ensure that all retirement advisors act in the best interests of savers when giving investment advice. And dating back to our first hearing in July  of 2011, I’ve publicly agreed with that goal. I still agree with that.

In fact, Republicans and Democrats have long agreed we need to look for ways to strengthen protections for those saving for their retirement. That’s why I’m disappointed that the Department has publicly opposed the bipartisan Affordable Retirement Advice Protection Act and its companion, the SAVERS Act.

This legislation would make your stated goal of a “best interest” standard a reality, without prohibiting advice … The [department’s] proposal will make it harder for working families to save and plan for retirement. We have no indication the final rule will be any different. That’s why Congress should act in a bipartisan way.

To view a video of the exchange, click here.

For more information about the hearing, click here.

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