Levin Floor Statement on GOP’s Disapproval Resolution on DOL Fiduciary Rule

Apr 28, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in opposition to H.J.Res. 88 – a resolution disapproving of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) “fiduciary” rule, which is aimed at ensuring retirement advisors act in the best interests of consumers:

(Remarks as delivered)

“This fiduciary rule has had a long, dedicated, and deliberative journey.

“The Administration first issued proposed regulations on this issue in 2010. They received many comments from consumer and industry groups and decided to redraft the proposal. That new proposal, issued last year, prompted more than 3,000 comment letters. The Administration and the Department of Labor actively took these comments and the numerous consultations on all sides of this issue into account when they prepared the final draft of the rule. It’s the way government should act.

“What the Labor Department rule does is to strengthen the trust between a financial adviser and their client. It says that a fiduciary, or financial adviser, must act in their clients’ best interest.

“The Republicans oppose this product, guided by their ideological blinders.

“This rule is important because when the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was first passed in 1975, 401(k) plans did not yet exist and IRAs had just been created. Today, more Americans have 401(k) plans than pension plans, and must manage their own investments.

“Republicans today continue their claim that this rule will make it more difficult for small businesses and low- and middle-income Americans to get financial advice because it will cost them more. The fact is that conflicted investment advice costs American families billions of dollars every year.

“As the White House’s Statement of Administration Policy stated:

“Some firms have incentivized advisers to steer clients into products that have higher fees and lower returns — costing American families an estimated $17 billion a year.”

“It continues: “If the President were presented with H.J.Res. 88, he would veto the bill.”

“This isn’t top-down. This is from the bottom-up. Listening to people, listening to everybody, and coming out with a rule that’s responsive to the needs of the American people. I strongly urge my colleagues to vote against this resolution.”