House votes to kill DOL fiduciary rule

But Republicans failed to garner the bipartisan support necessary in both the House and Senate to override a threatened Obama veto

Apr 28, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

The House of Representatives approved along party lines Thursday a resolution that would kill a Labor Department investment advice rule.

After an hour of debate, the House voted 234-183 in favor of the measure, which was offered under a law that allows Congress to stop regulations within 60 days of a final rule being released.

No Republican voted against the resolution and no Democrat supported it.

The White House on Wednesday signaled that President Barack Obama would veto the resolution. He has made a priority of the DOL rule, which would require financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in 401(k), individual retirement accounts and other qualified accounts.

(More: Coverage of the DOL rule from every angle)

The House vote proved that Republicans remain far from cobbling together the supermajority needed in both the House and Senate to override a veto. The Senate has not yet acted on a similar resolution.

The House moved quickly to squelch the rule, which was released in final form on April 6.

During floor debate Thursday, Republicans asserted that the rule was too complex and costly and would make investment advice too costly for savers with modest assets.

Several of them held up the bulky rule, which was bound by red tape.

“This is a 1,000-page bill to define one word,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the sponsor of the resolution, referring to the rule's expanded definition of advisers who are fiduciaries.

He argued that both sides of the debate agree on the need to ensure that advice is delivered in the best interests of clients.

“Why can't we do that with a single sentence on one page?” Mr. Roe said.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., called the regulation “Obamacare for retirement savings.”

The Republican criticisms of the rule align with industry opposition to the regulation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce deemed Thursday's action one of its key votes of the year.

Democrats stood united with Mr. Obama against the resolution, saying the rule is needed to protect workers and retirees from conflicted advice that leads to high-fee investment products that erode savings.

“When all you can complain about is the size of the bill, you know you have a weak argument,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., in response to GOP criticism of the rule.

Many Democrats expressed concerns about an earlier version of the regulation introduced last year. But they seem to be happy with the modifications made in the final rule.

“They incorporated every single change,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.

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