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Senate Panel Plans Thursday Nomination Hearing for Key DOL Official

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What You Need to Know

  • President Joe Biden nominated Gomez in late July.
  • She would replace former EBSA head Preston Rutledge.
  • If confirmed, she would join EBSA as Labor works to issue a new fiduciary rule.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the nomination of Lisa Gomez to head the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.

In late July, President Joe Biden nominated Gomez, a partner at Cowen Weiss and Simon in New York, to head EBSA.

Gomez, who specializes in employee benefits law, joined the firm in 1994 and became a partner in 2002.

Gomez, who would replace former EBSA head Preston Rutledge, provides advice on compliance with a variety of health care and labor laws, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code and the Affordable Care Act.

If confirmed, she would join EBSA as Labor works to issue a proposed rulemaking to update the definition of “fiduciary” under ERISA.

Industry trade groups are urging the Labor Department to extend the Dec. 20 compliance date for its fiduciary advice rule.

The Biden administration allowed the Trump administration’s fiduciary prohibited advice exemption, or PTE, to go into effect in mid-February.

The regulation, called “Improving Investment Advice for Worker & Retirees,” is “broadly aligned” with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest, according to EBSA.

However, current Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in mid-June that Labor plans to issue a new proposed rulemaking to update the definition of “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. That proposal could come by December.

In a recent letter, 10 trade groups — including the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Insured Retirement Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Investment Company Institute — asked the acting head of EBSA, Ali Khawar, to extend the temporary enforcement policy at least 6 to 12 months beyond Dec. 20.