Skip to content

Senators Join Forces to Stop Threat to Middle-Income Americans’ Retirement

Senators fighting harmful ‘fiduciary rule’ that would restrict retirement planning for hardworking, middle class families

April 18, 2016

Today U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., joined Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in introducing a resolution to stop the Obama administration from implementing a harmful new regulation that will have devastating effects on retirement planning by hardworking families and small businesses.

On April 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized a rewrite of its definition of a “fiduciary,” allegedly to protect individuals from misleading investment advice, but, in practice, the new rule will make retirement planning unaffordable for low- to middle-income Americans whose accounts are not valuable enough for advisors to take on the new legal liability created by the rule.

Isakson, Alexander and Enzi today filed a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to reject this decision that has been labeled “Obamacare for retirement planning.”

If approved, the resolution of disapproval would allow Congress to stop the Department of Labor from implementing this harmful rule, which will deny retirement advice to low- and middle-income savers, which is what happened when a similar change was adopted in the United Kingdom.

Under the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate vote on a joint resolution of disapproval to stop, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation or issuing a substantially similar regulation without congressional authorization. A resolution of disapproval only needs a simple majority to pass and cannot be filibustered or amended, if acted upon during a 60-day window. The resolution of disapproval must also be signed by the president or Congress can overturn a veto with a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House.

Isakson is the lead sponsor of the resolution of disapproval, which, in addition to Alexander and Enzi, is being co-sponsored by U.S. Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Daniel Coats, R-Ind., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, James Inhofe, R-Okla., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., James Lankford, R-Okla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Rand Paul, R-Ky., David Perdue, R-Ga. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., John Thune, R-S.D., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., David Vitter, R-La., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.        


In October 2010, the Department of Labor proposed rewriting its regulatory definition of a “fiduciary,” allegedly to protect individuals from misleading investment advice. However, the administration later withdrew its rule amid widespread, bipartisan criticism that the proposal would essentially prevent lower- and middle-income investors from gaining access to the advice market and would likely result in confusion and ultimately discourage savings participation.

Despite these concerns, the Department of Labor finalized its fiduciary rule in April 2016 that fails to address many of the concerns raised over the previous rule.

The rule was made final on April 6, 2016.