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REGULATION/LEGISLATION

House, Senate Republicans increase efforts to turn back fiduciary rule

U.S. Capitol, Washington

Legislation to overturn the Department of Labor fiduciary rule that takes effect Friday was introduced in the House on Thursday.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., a member and past subcommittee chairman 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, said their proposed legislation, H.R. 2823, would protect access to affordable retirement advice, enhance transparency and require financial advisers to serve their clients' best interests.

“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,” Mr. Roe said in a statement. Mr. Roskam added that the bill encourages more people to save.

Similar legislation in the Senate was introduced Thursday by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who called the rule “a gift to the trial lawyers.” The proposed bill, which would undo the fiduciary rule but raise investment advice standards and add consumer protections, is co-sponsored by several of Mr. Isakson's Republican colleagues on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, including Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

Undoing the rule is also part of a financial regulation reform bill that the House is voting on Thursday. The CHOICE Act would replace much of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It is expected to pass the House but face resistance in the Senate. In a statement, Joint Economic Committee Democrats said the bill “is packed with deregulatory handouts to every kind of financial institution.”

The Department of Labor has also begun the process of proposing a replacement rule through a request for information that was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for approval on Tuesday.