Senate Will Vote To Protect Retirement Savings

‘Even on its way out the door, the Obama Administration pushed forward with more unfair regulations that hurt the middle class.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Senate action through the Congressional Review Act to undo an Obama-era regulation that pushes more American workers into government-run retirement plans: 

“Over the last eight years, American workers grappled with a sluggish economy and policies that often made it harder for families to get ahead.  Even on its way out the door, the Obama Administration pushed forward with more unfair regulations that hurt the middle class. 

“It tried to advance regulations that threatened jobs and hindered economic growth.  It tried to shift power away from people and toward government, on everything from education to land management issues.  And under the guise of helping more people save for the future, it undercut a system of private retirement savings that’s served millions of Americans well for decades. It introduced regulations that would push more and more Americans into government-run retirement plans.

“These retirement savings-regulations are a classic case of the whole being worse than the sum of its parts. The Obama Administration encouraged states and municipalities to set up government-run retirement plans for private sector workers. Sounds great, some might say, but that’s until you see the fine print.  States always had the power to set up these plans, but they chafed at federal laws protecting the workers who would be automatically enrolled in them. They didn’t like that the basic retirement protections that apply to those who manage private sector retirement plans would apply to the government too.

“So they sought a waiver from long-accepted federal protections like the requirement to invest prudently and the rule against self-dealing. That’s what these regulations are actually about. They allow states and cities to create an employer mandate that forces private-sector workers into these government-run plans. They liberate the states and big city mayors from federal consumer protections for these hard earned dollars. And they create a competitive advantage for these new government-run plans. The end result will be more government at the expense of the private sector. 

“Fortunately, we can now begin to roll back these regulations. We’ll take a vote today to protect workers should big city governments try to force their private sector employers to auto-enroll in government-run savings plans. Later, we will advance another CRA to protect workers from similar efforts at the state level.  

“Congress is able to push back against troubling regulations like these because of the tools provided by the Congressional Review Act, or CRA. Just last week we sent the 11th CRA resolution to the president’s desk, and we hope to add to those regulatory relief efforts now.

“I want to thank Senator Hatch, the Finance Committee Chairman, for his leadership on this issue.  He understands that we need to do more to encourage private retirement savings, and he has advocated numerous policies that would do just that. He also understands that more government involvement in the retirement of private sector workers is not the answer here. 

“He introduced companion legislation to the House bills we’ll vote on soon. We should pass that legislation without delay so that we can, as the Chairman said, ‘give employees and small business owners more flexibility and freedom to choose how to financially invest and build a nest egg for retirement.’”

Related Issues: Congressional Review Act