Barletta Backs Bill Protecting Access to Retirement Advice
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted for committee passage of a bill to protect access to affordable retirement advice for low- and middle-income families, blocking the Department of Labor’s (DOL) flawed “fiduciary rule.” The rule imposes new mandates and regulations on retirement advisors, raising bipartisan concerns about negative impacts on individuals and small business owners. The House Education and the Workforce Committee, of which Barletta is a member, approved H.J. Res 88 on a vote of 22-to-14. The bill now heads to the floor of the full House of Representatives for its consideration.
“Americans are living longer lives than ever before, which means that retirement planning is even more important,” Barletta said. “The federal government ought to make it easier for people and small employers to get the best advice possible, not put up barriers. This legislation will help people get the information and advice they need, and therefore provide workers with a better chance at saving for their retirement years.”
The proposed DOL rule would dramatically alter how families and small business owners receive financial advice. The rule would prohibit some of the most basic advice available, such as assistance in rolling over funds from a 401(k) into an Individual Retirement Account, or determining the distribution of funds upon retirement. Small business owners would be denied certain assistance while determining investment options for employees, making it more likely that small employers will forego retirement plans for workers altogether. In addition, low- and middle-income families with fewer resources would lose access to financial advice completely or be forced to pay substantially higher fees to continuing seeing advisors they already trust.
“We all agree that financial advisors should act in their clients’ best interest, but the administration’s approach is fundamentally flawed,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline (MN-2). “Low- and middle-class families will lose access to affordable retirement advice and small businesses will be discouraged from helping their employees save for retirement. Congress cannot stand by and allow a federal regulation to create this much havoc in the lives of the American people. This resolution will stop this harmful regulatory scheme and empower more Americans to invest and plan for the years ahead.”
Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress may pass a resolution of disapproval to prevent, with the full force of the law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or issuing a substantially similar rule without congressional authorization. The resolution would block the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which is scheduled to go into effect in April 2017. The resolution follows earlier efforts to enact a responsible, bipartisan alternative to the department’s flawed rule.