Budget Bills Defunding Fiduciary Rule Approved by House, Senate Committees

Budget-setting committees in both houses of Congress have approved measures that would eliminate from the Department of Labor’s FY 2016 budget funds earmarked for implementing the DOL’s proposed fiduciary rule.

On June 24, the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill that would eliminate from the DOL budget any money to implement the fiduciary rule. The vote on the rule was 30-21, with all Democrats voting against it. “Through the inclusion of several important policy provisions, we have taken steps to rein in the excessive overreach of the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board,” LHHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole said in a press release.

On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $153.2 billion measure that funds a range of priorities involving health, education and workforce training and development for FY 2016. That measure also “defunds” the fiduciary rule. It was was approved on a 16-14, with all Democrats voting against it. In a press release, the committee noted that its budget recommendations include “several provisions to restrain regulatory overreach by the administration, including Fiduciary Rule at the Department of Labor.”

Approval of the defunding provisions in both appropriation bills does not necessarily mean that they will be enacted into law. The budget process is complex, problematic and subject to political dealmaking at all levels.

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