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House Continues Effort to Protect Access to Affordable Retirement Advice

Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statements regarding today’s vote to override President Obama’s veto of H. J. Res. 88, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. Introduced by Rep. Roe, the resolution would protect access to affordable retirement advice for low- and middle-income families by blocking the Department of Labor’s extreme and partisan “fiduciary” rule.

"There are nearly 40 million working families in this country who haven’t saved a dime for retirement. That's a serious problem, and President Obama and House Democrats have accepted a rule that will only make matters worse,” Rep. Roe said. “The American people need positive solutions that empower them to save more for retirement, not a fundamentally flawed rule that will restrict access to affordable retirement advice for those who need it most. We’ll continue to do everything we can to protect workers, retirees, and small businesses from this harmful rule, and we’ll continue our efforts to strengthen retirement security for every American.”

“With his veto, President Obama has endorsed a regulatory scheme that will undermine the retirement security of hardworking Americans,” Chairman Kline said. “Today’s vote is disappointing for the families who will lose access to their trusted financial advisors and find it harder to save for retirement. It’s also disappointing for the small business owners who will find it harder to offer their workers retirement options. But this is a fight worth having, and it isn’t over. We will continue to look for opportunities to stop this flawed rule and help all Americans retire with the dignity and peace of mind they deserve.”

BACKGROUND: Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can pass a joint resolution of disapproval to stop, with the full force of the law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation or issuing a substantially similar regulation without congressional authorization. Rep. Roe’s resolution (H. J. Res. 88) to block the fiduciary rule passed the Senate on May 24 by a bipartisan vote of 56 to 41, after passing the House in April by a vote of 234 to 183.

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which was finalized in April, will impose a host of costly new mandates and burdensome regulations on financial advisors that provide retirement advice. Bipartisan concerns have long been raised that the rule will restrict access to affordable retirement advice for low- and middle-income families and create new hurdles for small businesses that will have to pay more to offer their workers retirement options. H. J. Res. 88 would:
  • Block a rule that will hurt low- and middle-income families saving for retirement.
  • Protect access to affordable retirement advice for all Americans.
  • Ensure small business owners can continue to find the advice they need to help their employees plan for retirement.
Led by Rep. Roe, lawmakers advanced complementary bipartisan proposals that would require financial advisors to act in the best interests of their clients, and ensure low- and middle-income Americans have access to quality, affordable retirement advice. The House has also taken action on legislation sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) that would have required the department to coordinate its actions with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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