The bill, which funds the government through September, also freezes funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission at the fiscal 2016 level of $1.605 billion.
While the spending bill omits the DOL fiduciary rule rider, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee told Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta on his first day to “conduct and finalize an exhaustive review of the final fiduciary rule before any part of the rule becomes applicable,” pursuant to President Donald Trump’s Feb. 3 executive order.
“Pursuant to the president’s memorandum and in light of the numerous concerns with the final fiduciary rule, we respectfully request that you carry out the president’s directives without delay and finalize a new fiduciary rule review before any part of the rule becomes applicable” on June 9, the senators wrote in their April 28 letter.
“While the final rule is more workable in some areas than the initial 2015 proposed rule, we remain concerned that the final rule will hurt working and middle-income savers’ access to basic investment education and assistance,” members of the HELP Committee told Acosta. “For example, the final rule harms Individual Retirement Account (IRA) owners by interfering with owners’ access to investment education. The final rule makes illogical distinctions between the same educational services for different types of retirement accounts.”
The funding legislation also does not include four controversial House riders that would have blocked spending by the SEC to issue rules on universal proxy ballots, conflict minerals, pay ratio disclosure and climate change disclosure.
A Senate provision blocking funds for changing SEC protocols for providing paper copies of reports to investors was also dropped.
In addition, the bill includes $1.96 billion in cap adjustment funding, $470 million more than the fiscal year 2016 enacted level, to prevent waste, fraud, abuse and improper payments in the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.
Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, stated after the bill was passed that he was “especially glad this agreement does not include a single penny for the construction of a misguided wall along our southern border. A wall the president promised Mexico would pay for, and a wall that would be nothing more than a bumper sticker monstrosity.”
The bipartisan agreement eliminates more than “160 poison pill riders that would have been devastating to the environment, put restrictions on consumer financial protections and attacked the Affordable Care Act,” Leahy said.