We are issuing the latest update to our recent Alerts regarding the final rules issued by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) with respect to fiduciaries under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and the DOL’s Best Interest Contract Exemption (“BICE”) from ERISA’s prohibited transactions provisions as well as Congress’s attempts at blocking implementation of the ERISA fiduciary rule and BICE. On July 7, 2016, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill for the DOL that includes a rider which would prohibit enforcement of the ERISA fiduciary rule and BICE. According to a July 6, 2016 press release issued by this Subcommittee, the purpose of this rider (along with two other unrelated riders to separate spending bills) is to “help U.S. businesses create jobs and grow the economy by reducing or eliminating overly burdensome government regulations.” A Democratic amendment to remove the rider was rejected. The parallel DOL spending bill in the Senate does not have a similar rider. It is expected that the full Appropriations Committee will vote to approve the DOL spending bill with the rider blocking enforcement of the fiduciary rule when that bill comes up for a vote, possibly before the Congressional summer recess later this month.
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