A few weeks ago I warned about the Department of Labor’s “Fiduciary Rule” – Obamacare for your retirement accounts. Now comes a chance to stop it. The House Education and Workforce Committee has announced a resolution of disapproval, H.J. Res. 88, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA):
Committee statement: The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today approved a resolution (H.J. Res. 88) to block the Department of Labor’s “fiduciary” rule and protect access to affordable retirement advice for low- and middle-income families. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, along with Reps. Charles Boustany (R-LA), and Ann Wagner (R-MO). The resolution passed the committee by a vote of 22 to 14.
This is an important step. As my colleague John Berlau said in the paper linked above,
Under the CRA, Congress has 60 legislative days after a final rule is released to disapprove of that rule. The votes take place in an expedited procedure with no filibuster allowed, so only a simple majority is required for passage. The resolutions are still subject to presidential veto, but even if the president vetoes it, and there are not enough votes for an override, the statement of disapproval by Congress is still important.
It forces Members of Congress and the President to go on the record as supporting or opposing a given measure, thus providing important information for voters.
The resolution of disapproval stands as a statement that the president is going against Congressional intent. As Jeff Rosen of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis pointed out recently on the blog of the Yale Journal of Regulation, CRA votes “could be relevant to lawsuits” under the Administrative Procedure Act. This would seem to be especially true in cases such as this, in which the regulation departs so much from the law on which it claims to be based.
If those badly burdened by the law are to win a lawsuit against it (although the Department of Labor is exerting pressure on them not to take such a course of action) then having a CRA is an important pointer to the Court that the administration is going beyond what Congress authorized. Rep. Roe is to be congratulated for this action.