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House GOP Introduces Bill to Overturn DOL Fiduciary Rule

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House Republicans introduced legislation Thursday to overturn the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, a day before the rule’s effective date.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy, introduced the Affordable Retirement Advice for Savers Act (H.R. 2823).

The lawmakers said in introducing the bill that it would “protect access to affordable retirement advice by overturning the Obama administration’s flawed fiduciary rule while ensuring retirement advisors serve the best interests of their clients.”

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., reintroduced the same say day the Affordable Retirement Advice Protection Act, S.1321, which he argued would “preserve access to quality financial planning and ensure that retirement advisors serve the best interests of low- and middle-income Americans.” The bill would also amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ”to raise investment advice standards for the retirement industry and strengthen protections for those saving for retirement.”

“For years, we’ve been working to stop a flawed fiduciary rule that would make it harder for low- and middle-income families to save for retirement,” Roe said in a statement. “The Obama administration made a reckless, unnecessary trade-off between strong protections for retirement savers and access to affordable retirement advice. This legislation reflects a more responsible solution that will ensure all Americans have access to affordable retirement advice that’s in their best interest.”

Roskman added that the bill is about helping Americans of all walks of life, at every income level, save for retirement. It protects access to quality, affordable financial advice and creates more choices so families in Chicagoland and across the country can find the tools that help them plan for their futures. This bill encourages more people to save and helps ensure advisors always serve the best interests of their clients.”

H.R. 2823 overturns Labor’s fiduciary rule, while requiring financial advisors to serve their clients’ best interests and enhancing “transparency and accountability through clear, simple and relevant disclosure requirements,” the lawmakers said.

The lawmakers also argued their bill allows small-business owners to continue receiving the help they need to provide retirement plans for their employees.

Isakson said his legislation would “fight implementation of a misguided, big-government Obama-era rule that is scheduled to take effect tomorrow, June 9, that would harm retirement planning access for hardworking Americans.”

The Obama administration “presented a gift to the trial lawyers and cut the knees out from under hardworking Americans seeking meaningful advice for retirement planning,” Isakson said. “On one hand, we encourage and applaud planning, but this big-government regulation prices the advice of knowledgeable professionals out of reach for hardworking taxpayers in middle- and lower-income families.”

Roe led a May 2 letter to Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta calling for a “permanent delay” of Labor’s fiduciary rule. 

Acosta reiterated to members of the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday that “this administration looked at whether [the fiduciary rule] should be postponed further and concluded that there was no basis to postpone” the June 9 effective date “any further.” The rule, he told lawmakers, “is being looked at.”

Labor released Wednesday morning a request for information seeking public input on potential further changes to its fiduciary rule. The RFI was posted on the Office of Management and Budget’s website.

— Check out Planners Fear Unintended Consequences as DOL Rule Compliance Date Nears on ThinkAdvisor.

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