If you thought things were going to be quiet between now and the anticipated publication of the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule next month — well, you’d be wrong.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has now weighed in on the issue, claiming that “the bureaucrats bullied it through.” Citing the Feb. 24 report issued by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Ryan said the report “shows the DOL’s utter — and seemingly willful — neglect of the consequences of this rule.”
Ryan continued, “It’s a story we’ve heard before. Nonpartisan, professional experts raise concerns, ask for deliberation in the rulemaking process, while politically-appointed bureaucrats bully their way through the process with one thing in mind: a finalized regulation to finish while the president is still in office.
“Whatever the original intent of the fiduciary rule was, it got trampled by blindsided bureaucratic ambitions,” Ryan wrote, calling on the Obama administration to “stop its rule before it is finalized. The cost to American savers is too high.” In a Feb. 22 blog post about the fiduciary rule, Ryan said, “We are determined to do everything possible to protect consumers and stop this rule.”
Meanwhile, Obama administration officials are not sitting idly by. On Feb 23, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and White House official Jeffrey Zients held a meeting on Capitol Hill to shore up support among Democrats — none of whom, at least ahead of the publication of the rule, appeared to be ready to withdraw their support.
As for that publication date, strong signals from the government suggest the fiduciary rule will be released by the end of March.