By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, April 6, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) issued a written statement in response to the new “fiduciary rule” released by the Department of Labor earlier that day.
Rep. Byrne said, “Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle reached out to the Department of Labor for months to express our concerns with the proposed rule. Sadly, this rule ignores many of those concerns and risks limiting access to retirement advice. This rule and its expensive requirements are especially damaging to low- and middle-income families and small businesses. I hope we can work together, in a bipartisan fashion, to actually put reforms in place that help every American save for retirement – not make things harder.”
The new rule redefines the definition of “retirement advice” for pension and retirement plans and expands government influence and regulation.
The fiduciary rule is aimed at curbing billions of dollars in fees paid annually by small savers who transfer money out of 401(k)s and into individual retirement accounts. The Labor Department’s final rule was formally announced Wednesday morning at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the Obama administration.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said, “Today’s rule ensures putting the clients first is no longer a marketing slogan. It’s now the law.”
US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) supports the new rule, “Sometimes government works for the people and today was one of those days.” Warren said that some financial companies have started lowering fees in anticipation of the new rule.
About $14 trillion in retirement savings could be affected by the rule. Stockbrokers providing retirement advice will be required to act as “fiduciaries” who will serve their clients’ “best interest.”
The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) issued a separate statement regarding the Department of Labor’s release of the finalized fiduciary rule. Speaker Ryan said, “Saving for the future is daunting enough without Washington trying to make it harder. That’s why House Republicans, led by Phil Roe, Peter Roskam, and Ann Wagner, have held the Obama administration accountable throughout the fiduciary rule process. While it is clear that public and congressional scrutiny are making a difference, we will continue to look at every avenue to protect middle-class families and small businesses from government overreach.”
Congressman Byrne is a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. He represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Original reporting by the ‘Wall Street Journal contributed to this report.