DISAPPROVING RULE SUBMITTED BY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELATING TO SAVINGS ARRANGEMENTS BY STATES FOR NON-GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEES; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 27
(House of Representatives - February 15, 2017)

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[Pages H1206-H1218]
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                              {time}  1415
DISAPPROVING RULE SUBMITTED BY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELATING TO SAVINGS 
         ARRANGEMENTS BY STATES FOR NON-GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEES

  Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 116, I call up 
the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 66) disapproving the rule submitted by 
the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by 
States for non-governmental employees, and ask for its immediate 
consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 116, the joint 
resolution is considered read.
  The text of the joint resolution is as follows:

                              H.J. Res. 66

       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress 
     disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of Labor 
     relating to ``Savings Arrangements Established by States for 
     Non-Governmental Employees'' (published at 81 Fed. Reg. 59464 
     (August 30, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or 
     effect.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from North Carolina (Ms. 
Foxx) and the gentlewoman from Oregon (Ms. Bonamici) each will control 
30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from North Carolina.
  Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today I rise in strong support of H.J. Res. 66.
  The Obama administration spent a lot of time and taxpayer dollars 
emphasizing the need to protect retirement savers, but as was often the 
case with the previous administration, their rhetoric rarely matched 
their actions.
  For example, the Obama Department of Labor spent years advancing a 
flawed rule that will limit access to affordable retirement advice for 
low- and middle-income families. Despite repeated calls for a more 
responsible approach, the Department pushed forward with an extreme, 
partisan rule. Then, late last year, the Department finalized two 
additional rules that will also negatively impact the retirement 
security of workers. The administration crafted a regulatory loophole 
that allows States to establish government-run IRAs by circumventing 
protections workers and employers have enjoyed for decades.
  As was usually the case, the actions of the previous administration 
hurt the very people it claimed to be helping. First, this loophole 
would lead to fewer protections for retirement savers. Working families 
will have less information about how their retirement plans are 
managed, and they will have fewer options if those plans are not 
managed well. They will also have less control over the money they 
worked so hard to put away.
  We need to honor hardworking taxpayers, Mr. Speaker, who save for 
their retirement and not have the Federal Government do things to harm 
them.
  The loophole also threatens to inflict significant harm on small 
business employees. It is already hard enough for many small businesses 
to provide their employees with retirement options, and this regulation 
only makes it less likely they will do so. In fact, many small 
businesses could actually be discouraged from offering 401(k)s or other 
private sector options. Others could cancel their retirement plans and 
dump their employees into government-run retirement plans.
  Finally, the Obama administration's regulatory action puts taxpayers 
at risk. We already know that many government-run pension plans for 
public employees are woefully underfunded. Let me repeat that, Mr. 
Speaker. We already know that many government-run pension plans for 
public employees are woefully underfunded. If government-run IRAs for 
private sector workers are mismanaged, does anyone seriously believe 
hardworking taxpayers won't be asked to foot the bill?
  These may be unintended consequences, but they will be detrimental to 
workers, retirees, and small business all the same. Too many 
hardworking men and women struggle to plan for the future and retire 
with financial security and peace of mind. The resolution under 
consideration today will close a loophole that threatens that security 
and peace of mind.
  To be clear, these resolutions will not prevent States and cities 
from providing workers and retirees with new, innovative retirement 
options. These resolutions will simply ensure that all workers and 
retirees enjoy the same protections that have been guaranteed for 
decades.
  I want to thank Representatives Walberg and Rooney for leading this 
effort and working to protect the retirement security of hardworking 
men and women across the country. I urge my colleagues to support both 
resolutions.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.J. Res. 66.
  Working families in my home State of Oregon and across the country 
deserve the opportunity to retire with security and dignity. 
Unfortunately, that is not a reality for far too many Americans who 
face a growing retirement security crisis. In fact, nearly 40 million 
private sector workers, including an estimated 1 million in Oregon, do 
not have access to retirement savings plans at their jobs.
  The AARP and others have noted that people who do not save for 
retirement risk becoming dependent on social safety net programs that 
increase costs for taxpayers.
  Mr. Speaker, Congress has not stepped up to address our country's 
retirement security crisis, so several States, including my home State 
of Oregon, have developed and implemented innovative solutions that 
will help workers save for retirement.
  Oregon's program is set to launch in just 5 months. Workers who do 
not have access to a retirement plan through their employer will have 
access to a plan facilitated by the State. It is not mandatory--workers 
can opt out--and there is minimal paperwork for employees. Oregon's 
plan is portable, so workers can keep their retirement savings when 
they change jobs.
  Consider Oregonian Penny Wicklander, who has worked hard but hasn't 
had access to a good retirement plan. Penny managed an apartment 
complex for low-income seniors, and she saw the hardships that 
residents faced without retirement security. Some lived on $10 in the 
last 10 days of the month. She said, in support of Oregon's plan:

       No one wants to retire into poverty and rely on public 
     services, but it's hard to plan for the future when there are 
     so many other financial challenges facing our families. We 
     need a simple retirement account that makes it easy for 
     everyone to save part of what they earn, regardless of where 
     they work.

  Bobbie Sotin, a home care worker who cares for seniors and people 
with disabilities doesn't have access to a retirement savings plan 
through her employer. Bobbie said:

       Working with seniors in poverty, many care providers see 
     their own future every day. Once they reach retirement age, 
     they have to make the decision to live in poverty or keep 
     working until they die. Even if it

[[Page H1207]]

     means just $50 or $100 more per month, that kind of income 
     would make a huge difference to each and every one of us.

  Penny, Bobbie, and people across the country need access to 
retirement savings plans. Oregon and several other States are working 
to fill that need. Congress should be supporting them and encouraging 
retirement savings programs like Oregon's and similar plans in 
California, Illinois, Connecticut, and Maryland. Instead, House 
Republicans are advancing a Congressional Review Act joint resolution 
of disapproval that would endanger these plans, discourage other States 
from taking action, and undermine states' rights.
  Specifically, this resolution would nullify an important Department 
of Labor rule that simply clarifies that these State-based savings 
plans do not run afoul of ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income 
Security Act. The safe harbor rule went into effect last October.
  Now, my friends on the other side of the aisle may characterize this 
as ``closing regulatory loopholes'' and they may question whether more 
government is the answer, but that is not what this is about.
  The National Conference of State Legislatures and the State 
treasurers of Oregon, Illinois, and California submitted letters in 
opposition to this resolution. They found the ``DOL safe harbor 
provides flexibility to states, codifies clear protections for 
employers who facilitate retirement savings arrangements for their 
employees, and enables innovative solutions to addressing the growing 
retirement crisis facing this country.''
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record these letters and several other 
letters in opposition to this resolution.

                                                February 10, 2017.
     Hon. Paul Ryan,
     Speaker of the House,
     Washington, DC.
       Speaker Ryan: Earlier this week, Reps. Tim Walberg and 
     Francis Rooney introduced two resolutions of disapproval 
     (H.J. Res 66, H.J. Res 67) to roll-back key Department of 
     Labor (US DOL) rules. These resolutions will limit our 
     abilities as states to provide solutions to the growing 
     retirement savings crisis, and could make it harder for small 
     businesses to participate in state-run programs.
       We are writing to ask that you defend our state's rights by 
     voting ``No'' on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67.
       The rule in question gives clarity for states across the 
     country to provide access to retirement savings options for 
     millions of private-sector workers. California, Illinois, and 
     Oregon are all in the process of implementing legislatively 
     approved state-administered plans that will enable nearly 8 
     million private-sector workers to save their own money for 
     retirement.
       As Treasurers, we chair the respective Boards governing our 
     state plans and have been actively working with employers, 
     employees, payroll providers, and financial service 
     organizations for the last two years. The reality is, that 
     without access to an easy and affordable savings vehicle, far 
     too many workers risk retiring into poverty and becoming 
     overly reliant on Social Security or state and federal safety 
     net programs.
       The final rule from US DOL provides key protections for 
     employers who facilitate enrollment for their employees--
     confirming a safe harbor from ERISA and protecting businesses 
     from litigation or liability related to state programs--while 
     maintaining key consumer protections for program 
     participants.
       While this rule has been finalized, opponents are seeking 
     to repeal or weaken the rule through the Congressional Review 
     Act. We respectfully request that you oppose efforts to 
     repeal the rule and vote no on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67. 
     The US DOL safe harbor provides flexibility to states, 
     codifies clear protections for employers who facilitate 
     retirement savings arrangements for their employees, and 
     enables innovative solutions to addressing the growing 
     retirement crisis facing this country.
       We are happy to provide additional information. Thank you 
     for your support.
           Sincerely,
     John Chiang,
       California State Treasurer.
     Michael Frerichs,
       Illinois State Treasurer.
     Tobias Read,
       Oregon State Treasurer.
                                  ____



                                                         AARP,

                                                 February 8, 2017.
       Dear Member of Congress: On behalf of working Americans who 
     struggle to save for their retirement, AARP urges you to vote 
     against a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the 
     Department of Labor's final rule on ``Savings Arrangements 
     Established by States for Non-Governmental Employees''. AARP, 
     with its nearly 38 million members in all 50 States and the 
     District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, 
     is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, nationwide organization that 
     helps people turn their goals and dreams into real 
     possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the 
     issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, 
     employment and income security, retirement planning, 
     affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse.
       Today, 55 million working Americans do not have a way to 
     save for retirement out of their regular paycheck. Despite 
     decades of federal incentives, employer sponsorship of 
     retirement savings plans has remained static. The lack of 
     employer-sponsored savings plans has a direct impact on the 
     retirement readiness of workers, because employees are 15 
     times more likely to save if they have access to a payroll 
     deduction savings plan at work.
       In response to the stubborn lack of growth in employer-
     sponsored retirement savings plans, numerous states have 
     removed regulatory and operational barriers for small 
     businesses who want to offer a retirement savings vehicle to 
     their workers. These bipartisan, commonsense solutions are 
     known as Secure Choice or Work and Save. In the last two 
     years more than half the states considered a variety of 
     options to provide employers and their employees with low-
     cost savings options, including Arizona, California, 
     Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, 
     Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, 
     Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New 
     Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, 
     Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, 
     Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
       In 2016, the Department of Labor promulgated a rule 
     providing states with guidance on how to enter into public-
     private partnerships aimed at increasing personal savings 
     rates among small business employees. This rule makes it 
     clear that any automatic IRA program established by a state 
     must remove the operational burden of running a retirement 
     plan from small business owners. In fact, it asserts that a 
     small business owner's only interaction with a Work and Save 
     plan would be to facilitate payroll deductions for these 
     individual savings plans.
       A Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn this 
     rulemaking will have a significant chilling effect on states, 
     sending the political message that state flexibility is not a 
     priority. There is successful precedent for states to take 
     action to promote personal financial responsibility. When 
     college savings plans, known as 529 plans, were created 
     twenty years ago, less than $2.5 billion had been saved for 
     college in these programs. Today, individuals have put away 
     more than $253.2 billion for college in 529 plans. Similarly, 
     in the retirement context, states are acting as facilitators, 
     aggregating small businesses to get the cost benefit of 
     pooling. All private financial firms can bid to invest the 
     savings from employees. The only employer role is to set up 
     the payroll deduction and forward materials to employees, a 
     role employers already perform for unemployment insurance, 
     workers' compensation, and other similar programs.
       Often, states are the pioneers of solutions. State 
     governments more directly interact with both workers and 
     employers, and state policymakers are aware that growth in 
     the number of older Americans who do not have a secure 
     retirement will be felt most acutely in cities and states. As 
     laboratories of change, states are often more willing and 
     able to test creative solutions to improve the retirement 
     security needs of their workforce while respecting the unique 
     characteristics and demographics of each jurisdiction. The 
     lack of options to save for retirement at work is a 
     persistent problem that demands action today. States desire 
     flexibility to move forward with innovative reforms--Congress 
     should not curtail state efforts to promote retirement 
     savings. Americans need easy savings options. No one wants 
     older Americans solely dependent on Social Security. Employer 
     plans are not growing and states are trying to meet the needs 
     of their citizens using private investment firms. Lack of 
     access to workplace savings plans is especially acute for 
     people of color--only 54 percent of African American and 
     Asian employees and 38 percent of Latino employees work for 
     an employer that sponsors a retirement plan, compared to 62 
     percent of White employees. Those who do not save enough for 
     retirement risk becoming dependent on social safety net 
     programs, costing taxpayers down the line. In fact, states 
     taking action today could save taxpayers as much as $4.8 
     billion in the next ten years. Congress should support these 
     important state savings programs, not take steps to end them.
       AARP urges Congress to support private retirement savings 
     and vote no on a Congressional Review Act resolution to 
     overturn the Department of Labor's rule on Savings 
     Arrangements Established by States for Non-Governmental 
     Employees. If you have further questions, please feel free to 
     contact me.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Nancy A. LeaMond,
       Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement 
     Officer.
                                  ____

         American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial 
           Organizations, Legislative Alert,
                                Washington, DC, February 15, 2017.
       Dear Representative: The AFL-CIO urges you to oppose H.J. 
     Res. 66 and H.J. Res. 67. These resolutions of disapproval 
     block Department of Labor (DoL) regulations that

[[Page H1208]]

     create safe harbors under which certain retirement savings 
     arrangements established by states or eligible political 
     subdivisions for private-sector workers will not be 
     considered ERISA-covered employee benefit plans.
       While the vast majority of union members who work in the 
     private sector benefit from collectively bargained pensions 
     and retirement savings plans, over 38 million private-sector 
     workers are not offered any kind of plan at work. The DoL 
     regulations provide a path forward for states and 
     municipalities to create an easier way for these Americans to 
     begin building a retirement nest egg through payroll 
     deduction contributions into their own Individual Retirement 
     Account (IRA). A vote to rescind these regulations is a vote 
     to ensure that these Americans will remain financially 
     vulnerable in retirement.
       Thank you for your consideration of our views.
           Sincerely,
                                                   William Samuel,
     Director, Government Affairs Department.
                                  ____

         American Federation of State, County and Municipal 
           Employees, AFL-CIO,
                                Washington, DC, February 10, 2017.
     U.S. House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC,
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the 1.6 million members 
     of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal 
     Employees (AFSCME), I am writing to urge you to oppose the 
     two Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions of disapproval 
     blocking the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations for 
     state and city retirement savings programs, H.J. Res 66 and 
     H.J. Res 67.
       Using the CRA to overturn these rules is an example of an 
     arbitrary process that upsets years of work by federal 
     agencies acting in strict adherence to the Administrative 
     Procedures Act to promulgate important federal rules and 
     actions. After thorough consideration that has involved the 
     public, state and local governments, and the Congress, 
     resolutions of disapproval should not be used for partisan 
     purposes to scrap agency rules at the last minute and to 
     subvert the regulatory process contrary to real needs of 
     Americans.
       We know there is a growing retirement security problem in 
     this country. It is estimated that 55 million full- and part-
     time private sector workers in the U.S. lack access to 
     retirement coverage through work. This problem has grown 
     unabated and without adequate attention at the federal level. 
     Finally, new DOL rules that are under attack will enhance 
     retirement security for the millions of Americans who do not 
     have access to pensions and have limited means to increase 
     savings for retirement. The new rules simply allow states and 
     cities to set up important auto-enrollment programs to 
     enhance savings if they chose to do so. One rule encourages 
     state auto-enrollment tax-free savings plans, or state-
     created tax-free saving plans for private business. The 
     second resolution would block a rule that clarifies when 
     county and city auto-enrollment plans will be exempt from 
     federal retirement law. California and a number of other 
     states have either already adopted plans or are considering 
     adopting plans. In addition, cities such as New York, 
     Philadelphia and Seattle are also considering similar 
     measures.
       These resolutions of disapproval would unfairly impact 
     these new plans and the millions who want to take advantage 
     of them. Approximately half of all workers lack access to any 
     type of pension or employment-based retirement savings plan. 
     The DOL regulation is narrowly tailored to authorize 
     governments to establish plans for those employers who do not 
     offer retirement programs. The burden imposed upon such 
     employers is minimal. Significantly, the regulation simply 
     clarifies that states and local governments can create auto-
     enrollment programs. In the absence of the regulation, states 
     may still offer the programs, although the legal status is 
     uncertain. These regulations not only clarify the matter, but 
     provide some important protections for participants.
       I urge you to vote no on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67, which 
     would harm these important state and local savings programs.
           Sincerely,
                                                       Scott Frey,
     Director of Federal Government Affairs.
                                  ____

                                               American Federation


                                                  of Teachers,

                                Washington, DC, February 15, 2017.
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative: For many Americans, the ability to 
     maintain their living standards in retirement continues to be 
     a source of anxiety and concern. Two-thirds of participants 
     in the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2016 Retirement 
     Confidence Survey indicated that they had no retirement plan, 
     and more than 50 percent reported they had less than $25,000 
     in retirement savings.
       As a result, a large number of states are moving 
     legislation to help employees of small employers to access 
     retirement savings plans. The Department of Labor has 
     assisted this effort by excluding such plans from ERISA. In 
     light of these facts, the AFT urges you to vote no on 
     Congressional Review Act resolutions (H.J. Res. 66 and H.J. 
     Res. 67) that would reimpose ERISA standards on governments 
     and only serve to chill state and city innovation.
       Although most jobs are created by small businesses, most 
     small business workers are not offered any retirement plan. 
     According to the Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI), 98 
     percent of all firms in the U.S. employ fewer than 100 
     workers, and about two-thirds of these workers lack access to 
     any retirement plan. Many small-business owners who were 
     contacted by the Government Accountability Office reported 
     shying away from sponsoring any retirement plan because of 
     all of the administrative requirements and fiduciary 
     responsibilities for selecting investment funds and managing 
     plan assets. Unless something is done to improve the 
     retirement prospects of the small-employer workforce, these 
     individuals will fall into poverty in retirement, and place 
     emotional stress on their families and financial stress on 
     their government sponsors.
       In response to this retirement savings gap, a large number 
     of states have removed regulatory and administrative barriers 
     for small businesses that want to offer a retirement savings 
     vehicle to their workers. These bipartisan common-sense 
     approaches are collectively known as ``Secure Choice.'' In 
     the last few years, about half of all states have considered 
     ways to provide small employers and their employees with low-
     cost, professionally managed savings options. Seven states 
     already have enacted legislation and are preparing to 
     implement their plans.
       In 2016, the DOL promulgated an rule providing states and 
     cities with guidance on how to enter into public-private 
     partnerships, with the goal of increasing savings rates among 
     employees of small businesses. The rule clearly states that 
     an automatic IRA program established by a state or city must 
     remove the burden of administering the retirement plan from 
     small-business owners. The rule puts in place only one 
     requirement: Small employers that do not offer any other 
     retirement plan to their employees must offer a payroll 
     deduction for employees who voluntarily choose to participate 
     in the savings plan. In short, the DOL rule eliminates much 
     federal red tape, and gives governments more flexibility to 
     innovate. This allows states and cities to provide a glide 
     path for small employers to offer a retirement savings plan 
     to their workers.
       Just as states facilitated the pooling and investing of 529 
     college savings plans in partnership with private investment 
     firms, the same convention is being employed in a retirement 
     savings context. Private investment companies can bid to 
     invest the pooled savings from employees of small employers. 
     Workers will enjoy the twin benefits of low-cost and well-
     managed investments. Small employers are only required to 
     provide payroll deduction and forward the program information 
     to employees.
       Again, the AFT urges Congress to support these state-
     sponsored, public-private retirement savings programs--
     collectively referred to as Secure Choice--by voting against 
     Congressional Review Act resolutions H.J. Res. 66 and H.J. 
     Res. 67.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Randi Weingarten,
     President.
                                  ____

                                               National Conference


                                        of State Legislatures,

                                Washington, DC, February 13, 2017.
       Members of The United States House of Representatives: The 
     National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the bi-
     partisan organization representing the legislatures of our 
     nation's states, territories, and commonwealths, urges you to 
     vote against H.J. Res. 66, a Congressional Review Act 
     resolution to overturn the Department of Labor's final rule 
     on ``Savings Arrangements Established by States for Non-
     Governmental Employees.''
       As our nation's laboratories of democracy, states are 
     developing and implementing innovative solutions that will 
     improve the retirement security of private sector workforces 
     and that will also save taxpayers billions of dollars. 
     Passage of this resolution is an affront to those in Congress 
     who advocate for the 10th Amendment as it will result in an 
     unwarranted preemption of state innovation, will restrict the 
     ability of millions of hardworking Americans to save for 
     retirement, and will prove costly to federal and state 
     budgets.
       As the number of workers who lack enough savings to cover 
     the costs of retirement expenses continues to grow, states 
     need the flexibility to develop creative solutions to this 
     problem. Restricting the ability of states to establish 
     private sector savings plans will put an even greater strain 
     on public finances because states and the federal government 
     are ultimately responsible for funding the social safety 
     programs that are utilized by retirees who are not 
     financially independent. Eight states have enacted laws that 
     will establish state-facilitated retirement plans' and many 
     other states are considering these plans for their state's 
     private sector workers. Passage of H.J. Res. 66 will likely 
     prevent states from establishing these innovative plans and 
     will result in increased costs for federal and state budgets 
     as tens of millions of Americans who depend solely on social 
     security will increase dependency on other entitlement 
     programs.
       Finally, we challenge the argument that private sector 
     workers, who lack retirement options, should not depend on 
     their state governments to establish these retirement saving 
     programs. We ask members of Congress that if states did not 
     act to address this growing problem, who would? It was only 
     after years and years of failure by the private sector to 
     address the retirement of

[[Page H1209]]

     its small business workers that state governments were left 
     with no alternative but to provide an innovative solution for 
     these retirees' future. Congress should respect the states' 
     efforts to reduce a further financial burden on future 
     taxpayers.
       NCSL urges Congress to support state innovation regarding 
     private retirement savings and vote no on a Congressional 
     Review Act resolution to overturn the Department of Labor's 
     rule on ``Savings Arrangements Established by States for Non-
     Governmental Employees.''
           Sincerely,
     Senator Daniel T. Blue, Jr.,
       North Carolina, President, NCSL.
     Senator Deb Peters,
       South Dakota, President-Elect, NCSL.


                     Retirement Savings Fast Facts

       Three-quarters of private sector workers feel anxious about 
     having enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
       Fifty-five million Americans work for employers that do not 
     offer any form of a retirement savings plan.
       80 percent of private sector workers between the ages of 18 
     and 64 support state-facilitated plans designed to help them 
     save their money for retirement.
       State-facilitated retirement savings plans are designed 
     similarly to the popular 529 college savings plans, as the 
     plan's assets would be the personal property of the 
     individual saver, and their money could only be used to 
     benefit the individual saver.
       State-facilitated retirement savings plans would be managed 
     by outside private sector fund managers and there will be no 
     connection between state-facilitated programs and public 
     pensions for government employees.
       State-facilitated retirement savings plans would provide 
     employees the options to decline participation; however, data 
     suggests that employees with access to workplace retirement 
     plans are 15 times more likely to save for retirement.
                                  ____



                                  National Council of La Raza,

                                Washington, DC, February 10, 2017.
     Hon. Virginia Foxx,
     Chairman, House Committee on Education & Workforce, 
         Washington, DC.
     Hon. Bobby Scott,
     Ranking Member, House Committee on Education & Workforce, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Foxx and Ranking Member Scott: On behalf of 
     the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation's largest 
     Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, I write to ask 
     you to oppose H. J. Res 66 and H. J. Res 67, resolutions of 
     disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to 
     block the Department of Labor (DOL) rules that allow states 
     and cities to implement their own Individual Retirement 
     Account (IRA) retirement plans.
       In the absence of congressional action to increase access 
     to retirement plans, state plans have stepped up to innovate 
     and fill that gap. H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67 impedes state 
     and local innovation and entrepreneurialism to solve the 
     retirement issue. If the DOL rules are abolished, it would 
     have a chilling effect on the states and cities that are 
     working to implement programs, including California, 
     Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon, which have all 
     passed legislation to setup these programs and New York City, 
     Philadelphia and Seattle which are currently considering 
     their own auto IRA plans.
       Rep. Tim Walberg's (R-MI) H.J. Res 66 and Rep. Francis 
     Rooney's (R-FL) H.J. Res 67 would nullify the DOL rules that 
     offered the clarification necessary to help states and cities 
     implement their own auto-IRA plans consistent with The 
     Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 
     which would provide millions of workers access to a workplace 
     retirement plan. If these retirement plans were to become 
     subject to ERISA, they would not be able to move forward.
       One of NCLR's goals in 2017 is to ensure the successful 
     implementation of the California Secure Choice Retirement 
     Savings Program. In September 2016, California Governor Jerry 
     Brown signed into law a bill that allows workers to access 
     state-run IRAs, which will feature automatic enrollment for 
     people working for employers with five or more employees. 
     Just over 7.5 million Californian workers who do not 
     currently have an employer-sponsored plan--half of whom are 
     Latino--will benefit from this program.

                  Latinos Have a Strong Desire To Save

       NCLR has worked to improve opportunities for Hispanics in 
     the United States for nearly 50 years. One of our core areas 
     of work is economic security, which is contingent on an 
     individual's retirement readiness. While many Americans have 
     difficulty saving for retirement, the issue is even more 
     acute for communities of color. For example, 62% of Black and 
     69% of Hispanic households lack any assets in a retirement 
     account. For those who can save, their account balances are 
     disproportionately low: four in five Latino households aged 
     25-64 have less than $10,000 in retirement savings, compared 
     to one in two White households. Prior to the DOL rule, 
     limited access to traditional retirement savings products 
     severely affected Latino workers' ability to invest in their 
     future. Efforts, whether at the federal or state level, to 
     increase access to quality retirement savings plans are 
     crucial to enhance Latino retirement readiness.
       The difficulty in saving for retirement is the result of a 
     variety of factors, including lack of availability of 
     employer-sponsored retirement plans and lower rates of 
     participation in those plans when they are offered. Workers 
     of color have less access to retirement savings vehicles 
     compared to Whites: 38% of Latino employees aged 25-64 work 
     for an employer that sponsors a retirement plan, compared to 
     62% of White employees. Of those workers who have access to 
     an employer-sponsored plan, not all participate: only 29.7% 
     of Latino workers who have an employer plan participate 
     compared to 53.8% of White workers.
       Low wages make investing for retirement especially 
     challenging given that housing, health care, and education 
     costs continue to rise while wages remain stagnant. 42% of 
     all Latinos earn poverty-level wages, even with having the 
     highest rate of labor force participation among all racial 
     and ethnic groups. Despite earning low wages, numerous 
     studies have shown that Hispanics value saving. A 2014 
     national Prudential survey of Latino consumers found that 
     ``the `saver' mindset prevails'' with Latinos. However, while 
     53% Latinos think that saving for retirement is a high 
     priority, near-term financial needs often compete for limited 
     resources.
       Limited access to traditional retirement savings products 
     severely affect Latino worker's ability to invest in their 
     future. Efforts to increase access to quality retirement 
     savings plans are crucial to enhance Latino retirement 
     readiness. In the absence of congressional action to increase 
     access, state and city plans can help to fill that gap. It is 
     for the above reasons that NCLR urges you to opposes H. J. 
     Res 66 and H. J. Res 67 and ensure that millions of workers 
     have access to a workplace retirement plan.
           Sincerely,

                                               Eric Rodriguez,

                Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, and 
                                                      Legislation.

  Ms. BONAMICI. In summary, proponents of this Congressional Review Act 
resolution are rushing to nullify a rule that will make it easier for 
people save for retirement. That is unacceptable. Every American 
deserves to retire with dignity, and this resolution puts that 
fundamental American value at risk.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing H.J. Res. 66.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. FOXX. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman 
from Michigan (Mr. Walberg) be permitted to control the balance of my 
time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from North Carolina?
  There was no objection.


                             General Leave

  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous material on H.J. Res. 66.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Michigan?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume, 
and I rise today in strong support of H.J. Res. 66, a resolution to 
protect retirement savers.
  During the final days of the Obama administration--in fact, the final 
hours--the Department of Labor created a regulatory loophole that 
threatens the retirement security of working families. We are here 
today to use Congress' authority under the Congressional Review Act to 
close that loophole by blocking a misguided regulation from taking 
effect.
  The regulation paves the way for States to force certain employers to 
automatically enroll their employees into government IRAs. States would 
be allowed to skirt Federal law and deny workers important protections 
designed to safeguard their retirement savings.
  The Obama administration's action is somewhat perplexing. The 
Employee Retirement Income Security Act, ERISA, has enjoyed strong 
bipartisan support for decades. As President Ford said when he signed 
the law, the American people have ``greater assurances that retirement 
dollars will be there when they are needed.'' Yet, over 40 years later, 
the same administration that frequently touted the importance of 
consumer protections moved to exempt States from ERISA.

                              {time}  1430

  The question is why. To facilitate the creation of government-run 
plans that

[[Page H1210]]

would lack basic protections for retirement savers? As a result, 
workers and retirees would have nowhere to turn if their savings were 
mismanaged.
  Let's be honest about what this regulation is really about. It is 
part of an assault on small business retirement plans that began under 
the Obama administration. First, small businesses were hit by the 
fiduciary rule that would make it harder for them to access the 
financial advice they need to set up retirement plans for their 
employees. Then the Obama administration created a last-minute 
regulatory loophole that could discourage small businesses from 
offering retirement plans in the first place. As a result, many 
families could soon realize, If you like your 401(k) plan, you may not 
be able to keep it.
  Because of this loophole, taxpayers also are at risk. Many of the 
States leading the charge on these government-run plans have a long 
history of mismanaging public employee pensions. Today there is an 
estimated $5 trillion in unfunded State pension promises--$5 trillion. 
That figure is completely unsustainable. It begs the question: Will 
taxpayers or retirement savers foot the bill if these government-run 
IRAs are similarly mismanaged?
  However, we are not here today to debate the merits of State policy. 
To be clear, States should be free to experiment with new retirement 
options, and more options are certainly needed. It is up to the voters 
in each State to hold their elected officials accountable. The point of 
this debate is that States should not be exempt from a law that has, 
for decades, provided important protections for retirement savers. If 
States want to come up with new ways to help workers save for 
retirement, they can. But they should follow the law in the process.
  The goal of this resolution is simple. It is to uphold protections 
Congress--including Members of both parties--have long afforded 
retirement savers. Today we can close a regulatory loophole that would 
be detrimental to the retirement security of hardworking Americans, and 
we can ensure retirement savers in every State continue to have the 
same protections under Federal law. I urge my colleagues to support 
strong protections for retirement savers by voting in favor of H.J. 
Res. 66.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Scott), the ranking member of the Committee on Education 
and the Workforce.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, our country is experiencing a 
retirement security crisis. Nearly 40 million private sector workers do 
not have access to a retirement savings plan at their jobs. The data 
and research also show that many middle- and low-income workers lack 
the ability to save enough on their own for retirement. Too many 
Americans lack access to retirement savings plans and too few are able 
to build a retirement nest egg on their own.
  Unfortunately, Congress has not stepped up to comprehensively address 
our country's retirement security challenges, but many States have 
stepped up and enacted innovative solutions to expand working people's 
access to retirement savings. California passed a law establishing a 
program that is estimated to provide 6.8 million workers access to a 
retirement savings plan. In Illinois, more than a million people are 
expected to benefit from the State's retirement savings program.
  Six other States have enacted programs. Dozens more have considered 
proposals to study or implement State-based retirement plans. Several 
of these States have worked with the Obama administration's Department 
of Labor on rules to ensure that their workplace retirement savings 
initiatives did not inadvertently run afoul of ERISA, the Federal law 
establishing minimum standards for private sector pensions.
  Last August, the Department of Labor finalized the rule specifying 
the ERISA safe harbor conditions for State payroll deduction retirement 
savings plans. The rule went into effect last October.
  In December, the Department of Labor finalized another rule that made 
certain cities and counties eligible for the same safe harbor 
protections. This rule only went into effect last month.
  Now, if there are legitimate concerns with the rules, the Trump 
administration has the administrative tools available to appropriately 
amend the final rules in the same fair, thoughtful, transparent manner 
in which they were promulgated. However, this CRA disapproval 
resolution, which was just introduced last week, will nullify the rule 
that puts a safe harbor in place to ensure the plans do not run afoul 
of ERISA. At the same time, under the CRA rules, it would make it 
impossible to enact a similar rule to protect these savings plans in 
the future without specific congressional approval.
  This afternoon, the House will also consider a CRA disapproval 
resolution which would overturn the month-old rule aimed at helping 
certain cities and counties offer workplace retirement programs.
  Mr. Speaker, Congress should not be in the business of destabilizing 
efforts that increase workers' ability to save for retirement, and we 
should not be going out of our way to undermine states' rights to 
implement their own innovative solutions. These two resolutions 
represent an attack on our Nation's working families. Congress must 
stand up for working people who do not have access to retirement plans 
at their jobs. America's working families deserve an opportunity to be 
able to save enough to retire with dignity and peace of mind.
  I urge my colleagues to reject both of these CRA joint resolutions of 
disapproval.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Tennessee (Mr. Roe), the immediate past chairman of the Subcommittee on 
Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. ROE of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.J. 
Res. 66, a resolution that uses the Congressional Review Act to roll 
back the Department of Labor's harmful so-called safe harbor rule. This 
rule allows States to automatically enroll employees in government-run 
IRAs without the important consumer protections provided by ERISA. This 
bureaucratic regulation restricts working families' access to essential 
plan information required to make wise investments, while also 
increasing the risk for financial mismanagement of State-run IRAs which 
would ultimately fall on the backs of the taxpayers across the U.S.

  Mr. Speaker, there is a retirement crisis occurring in this country. 
The Government Accountability Office reports that 29 percent of 
Americans age 55 and older have no retirement savings--zero--and no 
traditional pension plan. Further, nearly 40 million working families 
also haven't saved a dime for retirement. This is a serious problem, 
and we must work together across the aisle to pursue policies that make 
it easier, not harder, for families to save.
  Unfortunately, the Obama administration's answer to the retirement 
crisis was less consumer choice and more financial risk. This all 
started with the Department of Labor's misguided decision to pursue a 
fiduciary rule which, if implemented, will be a disaster for low and 
middle class savers. The DOL published a rule that is nearly 1,000 
pages to define the word ``fiduciary.'' Let me say that again, a 1,000-
page rule to define the word ``fiduciary.'' I hold in my hand Webster's 
Collegiate Dictionary, which has a few more pages than that to define 
every word in the English language. This dictionary defines every word 
in the English language, and it takes a thousand-page rule to define 
fiduciary.
  Does anybody think that is going to be better for savers?
  I seriously doubt it.
  Thankfully, the President is working to delay its implementation. 
Here we are today trying to keep yet another misguided rule from the 
waning days of the last administration from taking effect. It should be 
no surprise that the Obama administration's safe harbor rule continues 
to trend toward a lack of consumer choice and more Federal involvement 
through a patchwork of bureaucracy.
  Mr. Speaker, the American people deserve the opportunity to choose 
their retirement savings vehicle and not to be thrust into a 
government-run IRA that could eventually fall on the backs of their 
fellow taxpayers to fund. I

[[Page H1211]]

have worked tirelessly with my colleagues in the House to overturn 
these harmful regulations, and I look forward to continuing to work 
with the Trump administration to do just this.
  I agree with my colleagues across the aisle wholeheartedly that we 
need to work together to encourage and create policies that encourage 
the American people to save for their retirement.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Neal), the ranking member of the Committee on Ways 
and Means.
  Mr. NEAL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the doctor for that Webster's 
dictionary. That dictionary was published in Springfield, 
Massachusetts, and I am glad that the doctor from Tennessee sees it as 
the last word.
  Mr. Speaker, let me rise in opposition to the CRA resolutions we are 
debating today that would block Department of Labor regulations on 
State-run retirement programs. Our country is in the midst of a 
retirement savings crisis, as duly noted. To address this issue, we 
should be working together to help people get into a responsible 
retirement savings plan. Half the people who get up to go to work every 
single day in America are not in a qualified savings plan for 
retirement.
  This opportunity here is to begin a history lesson. In July of 2007, 
a decade ago, I introduced the Automatic IRA Act with my Republican 
Ways and Means colleague, Phil English. That same year, Senators 
Bingaman and Smith introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. The 
Brookings Institution and The Heritage Foundation scholars jointly 
developed my auto IRA concept. So conservatives and liberals came 
together on a commonsense proposal to make it easier for working 
families to save.
  However, fast forward to 2017. I can't find a Republican to join me 
in sponsoring the auto IRA legislation. Remember, The Heritage 
Foundation worked with me to construct this initiative. If we can just 
keep it amongst ourselves here, being a Democrat from Massachusetts and 
having a plan that is endorsed by The Heritage Foundation is not one of 
our easier endeavors. But between Brookings, a liberal think tank, and 
Heritage, a conservative think tank, we came up with a pretty good 
plan.
  Today American families struggle to prepare for retirement. To make 
matters worse, 55 million Americans work for employers who don't offer 
a retirement plan. As I noted earlier, that is half the workers between 
18 and 64.
  Because of Congress' failure to act on any legislation and address 
the retirement savings crisis, many States implemented their own auto 
IRA plans based upon the Neal-English bill. In fact, 30 States have 
moved to implement or are considering a State-facilitated retirement 
plan. Credit unions would love this, community bankers would love this, 
and insurance agents would like to sell these plans, but here we can't 
find a Republican to sign on.

  So today they are trying to block the guidance that provides clarity 
and flexibility to States that want to launch their own initiative. 
This is troubling. If these resolutions become law, it would have a 
chilling effect on State efforts. The States are the laboratories of 
experimenting on these retirement plans because the Federal Government 
doesn't get it done. If Republicans are looking for a single national 
effort, let's work together to develop a Federal auto IRA legislation 
piece that would work in the interim and work in the future and help 
people set up, Mr. Speaker, a responsible retirement savings plan.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I guess the point that I would make again 
is not the fact that we are trying to stop States from doing this. In 
fact, this CRA does not do that at all. It just simply says we express 
our concern that States would be allowed as a result of what was put 
through in midnight fashion that exempted States from having to come 
under the same protections of ERISA that we would expect to be covered 
for all retirement plans. That is the challenge. We want to make sure 
that retirees' incomes are protected in a secure, safe way, and that is 
the value of ERISA. This proposal or the rule that was put through did 
not cover that, and that is our concern, again, protecting retirees.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Mrs. Davis), a senior member of the Committee on Education 
and the Workforce.
  Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, after the extraordinary events 
of this week, I certainly had hoped that the House would move forward 
with a swift investigation into White House dealings with Russia. But, 
not to be distracted, it looks like the majority would rather spend the 
day stripping retirement benefits from millions.
  We have known for a long time that workers who have access to 
retirement plans through their workplace are more likely to save for 
retirement than those who don't. It makes sense.

                              {time}  1445

  We also know that nearly half of middle class workers will fall into 
poverty when they retire.
  Last year, the State of California did a great thing. It established 
a program to provide 7 million Californians with the tools to save for 
retirement.
  The Secure Choice program lets workers who do not have a retirement 
plan through their employer contribute a share of their income to an 
IRA account administered by the State. Under this voluntary program--
and I stress voluntary--countless Californians will get access to tax 
preferred retirement accounts for the very first time. That is 
extraordinary.
  In August, the Department of Labor cleared the way for Secure Choice 
by ruling that States could move forward with their own programs to 
help workers save for retirement. Seven other States are in the process 
of implementing similar laws, and dozens more are considering their 
options.
  The resolution in question today would undo the DOL's ruling, leaving 
States in a legal gray area that could put these programs in jeopardy. 
So I ask, Mr. Speaker, is this really how we should be spending our 
time?
  DOL spent months reviewing public comments and carefully crafting 
this rule. The House will vote to repeal it without a single hearing. 
Really?
  We should be doing everything we can to encourage savings across the 
board, certainly not voting to making savings harder for folks.
  In States across the country, this effort has been bipartisan. I 
wonder if we would be considering this resolution if the rule in 
question had not been issued by a Democratic administration?
  The word ``irresponsible'' does not even begin to do this for what 
would be justice in this area.
  So I urge, Mr. Speaker, a ``no'' vote on this. Let's move forward. 
Let's allow more States to experiment so they can decide for themselves 
whether or not this is something that the folks in their State want to 
do.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I want to make note that, as we discuss this here today, there have 
been points made about businesses wanting this change, they want to 
work with the States, and they are concerned about liabilities. Well, 
if that were the case, we wouldn't have endorsements of this coming 
from the Chamber of Commerce, Air Conditioning Contractors of America, 
American Benefits Council, NFIB, just looking through, the Small 
Business and Entrepreneurship Council, National Federation of 
Independent Business, National Electrical Contractors Association, 
National Black Chamber of Commerce, and I could go on and on, 
businesses and the business associations and groups that deal with this 
and have concern about their employees, their retirees, having a good 
and safe mechanism by which to have their retirement savings protected, 
supporting our efforts here to take back what took place under the 
cover of darkness, as it were, which took retiree savings off the 
benefit of ERISA. I just want that to be made clear.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, just to clarify, there was a comment made 
that these are government-run plans. Under these plans, the States 
establish the framework for deducting the contributions, but these will 
be managed by investment professionals, not by the State.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr.

[[Page H1212]]

DeSaulnier), my colleague, and a leader on the Education and the 
Workforce Committee.
  Mr. DeSAULNIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend from the State of 
Oregon (Ms. Bonamici) for the brief opportunity to speak.
  I did want to speak personally just briefly on my experience in my 
previous job in the California legislature when I voted for the Secure 
Choice Act. Then we spent over 4 years working with the business 
community, the investment community, and our attorneys to make sure the 
issues that the majority have brought up in regards to ERISA and other 
concerns, and I did this specifically as a former small-business person 
with the small-business stakeholders, to make sure these concerns were 
taken care of. We think that they have been taken care of, and we are 
proud of the Secure Choice Act.
  Close to 7 million Californians and 55 million people nationwide, 
most of them low- and middle-income, don't have access to retirement 
benefits through their employer. We are talking about people mostly who 
work for small businesses where neither the employer nor the employee 
can afford to enroll in expensive Wall Street-type financial advisers. 
They aren't able to pay the fees and the expenses.
  This element of the U.S. economy, and at this point I have to agree 
with The New York Times editorial today, that this resolution appears 
to be more directed towards Wall Street than to Main Street. Wall 
Street, the financial sector, takes around 25 percent of all corporate 
profits in the United States, represents 7 percent of the U.S. economy, 
and creates merely 4 percent of all jobs.
  The Secure Choice Act was directed away from those expensive 
investments and allowed for a more efficient process for working class 
Californians and Americans to be able to replicate this program and to 
be able to have a secure retirement.
  The majority often talks about states' rights and having States be 
the laboratories of creation. I think in California we have done that 
on multiple issues, and certainly on this issue.
  Without programs like this, most of the 55 million private sector 
Americans will end up relying on social security for more than half of 
their retirement income, which averages about less than $1,400 a month.
  California and seven other States that have created similar 
retirement programs are looking out for working families. American 
workers are doing more today than they ever have before. Over the last 
40 years, worker productivity has risen 73 percent, yet hourly pay has 
only increased 11 percent. Now they find their retirement more and more 
in jeopardy.
  I would ask the majority to strongly reconsider this approach, and to 
work with California and other States to make sure that we can allow 
these Americans to have access to a secure retirement.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  We are certainly willing to work with the States and would concur 
that there ought to be a laboratory.
  But again, our concern, and basically the only concern, that this 
resolution deals with is that they be managed in such a way that they 
come under the protections given under ERISA. And why do we say that?
  Well, we look at, for instance, Illinois' unfunded liability. We are 
looking at $114.8 billion at the end of fiscal year 2016--a State plan 
managed by, yes, an outside manager--but $114.8 billion under. We look 
at California Public Employees' Retirement System, CalPERS, which has a 
$228.2 billion shortfall in funding. Oregon's unfunded actuarial 
liability of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, again, 
managed by someone for Oregon, of $21.8 billion. If we looked at it all 
put together, we have over $5 trillion unfunded liability for State 
plans managed by some outside source.
  That is where our concern comes from--this rule that was put 
through--that takes people out of the protections of ERISA. So we are 
saying: Have at it, States, but do it according to the rules and the 
protections that are there. That is all we are asking. We want 
retirees' savings to be protected for the purposes that they planned 
for and not come up short some day because of a lack of care and the 
coverage of ERISA on their plans.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I assure my colleague that, as someone 
with a consumer protection background, I would not be opposing this 
resolution if it had consumer protections. In fact, this rule applies 
when States have strict investor protections.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California 
(Ms. Maxine Waters), the ranking member of the Financial Services 
Committee.
  Ms. MAXINE WATERS of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman 
for the time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.J. Res. 66, which is 
just a continuation of the House Republicans' attack on working 
families and their retirement security.
  H.J. Res. 66 would dismantle the Department of Labor rule allowing 
for State-based retirement savings programs. This does nothing more 
than make it harder for this country's roughly 40 million private 
sector workers who do not have a way to save for retirement directly 
out of their regular paycheck.
  Under the current Department of Labor rule, State administered 
retirement programs can allow employees, who do not have access to a 
workplace savings plan, to establish an IRA through a payroll 
deduction. In my State of California, we have the California Secure 
Choice retirement savings program through which the State is working to 
provide a savings option to roughly 6.8 million low- to middle-income 
workers.
  Last Congress, House Republicans unanimously voted to undermine 
another Department of Labor rule designed to protect retirement 
security for working families. In that case, the rule ensured that 
workers receive retirement investment advice that is in their best 
interest, referred to as the ``fiduciary rule.'' Now congressional 
Republicans want to prevent workers from participating in voluntary 
savings programs.
  The Department of Labor rule that the Republicans are now seeking to 
roll back provides clarity for States and employers so that California, 
and the several other States that have already enacted similar plans, 
can provide a simple savings tool for millions of working families.
  Mr. Speaker, I just don't understand the arguments that are being 
made against the average working person who would like to have 
retirement savings. I don't know who is going to benefit if we do away 
with their ability to have a savings plan, even if they don't have one 
under the job that they work on. Who benefits? Is it Wall Street again? 
What is happening here, and why is it that we have H.J. Res. 66?
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, we are not opposing voluntary plans. We are 
not opposing States setting up plans that will encourage retirement. We 
are not opposing that. We are just saying we want to make sure they are 
protected under the same requirements of ERISA that all other plans 
are. We want to make sure that those dollars are there when the people 
need them. That is all we are saying. We are not opposed to voluntary 
or plans for retirement.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
Roskam), my colleague and good friend, the chairman of the Ways and 
Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy.
  Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Walberg.
  There is an irony here, and it is an irony I think that is worth 
pointing out. This is, obviously, in the context, like the gentlewoman 
from California pointed out, of the fiduciary rule, which we are 
familiar with. That was an effort by the Obama administration to 
promulgate a new rule to create a new standard that would have an 
impact, Mr. Speaker, on investment advice.
  It was clear that the net result of that was to do what? It would 
have crowded people out at the lower end of the economic spectrum, not 
give them access to the coverage or the advice that they needed, 
because the advice, Mr. Speaker, would have been too expensive, and it 
would have created the self-fulfilling prophecy, unfortunately, where 
wealthier people, who can afford it, are able to get good advice.
  It was a terrible idea. We worked on a bipartisan basis. The 
administration

[[Page H1213]]

wouldn't have any part of the bipartisan solution. They jammed the rule 
down. It was a bad idea.
  Yet, the same administration, Mr. Speaker, is now saying to the 
entities that we really shouldn't have confidence in, that is States 
and localities on these pensions, you have more flexibility. So think 
about it. Taking away flexibility from people who need help, locking 
them out, not intentionally, but locking them out, and yet giving more 
flexibility to the very entities that have demonstrated that they have 
not used that properly.
  It is ironic. I mean, you can't make this up, basically. We need to 
do what we can, and here is what we can do. We can support this 
resolution, H.J. Res. 66--and 67--move its passage, reset this debate, 
and fundamentally have a new discussion about this, but we don't have 
to yield to these poor plans from the Obama administration.

                              {time}  1500

  Ms. BONAMICI. May I inquire as to the remaining time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Oregon has 11\1/2\ 
minutes remaining.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer), a senior member of the Ways and Means 
Committee.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, my friend, Mr. Roskam, said you can't 
make things up. Well, unfortunately, people are. First and foremost, my 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle are conflating accounts that 
are in the name of individual savers who don't have pensions that would 
be set up under these proposals, with what has happened with State and 
local pension plans and, frankly, private pension plans that got over 
their skis, that overpromised, that added to things. These are just the 
accounts that belong to individuals.
  Now, the hypocrisy strikes me that my Republican friends want to 
strip away the protections of the Affordable Care Act and turn it back 
to the States. Let them do with it what they will for Medicaid, for 
other local health programs. They think that is a great idea. But when 
governments on the State level like mine spent years developing a 
proposal that is innovative, that would protect people, that would 
involve no public tax dollars but at least engage people in a low-cost, 
transparent savings plan like we all have as Federal employees, then 
they don't want innovation, then they don't trust the States, then they 
want extra regulation that was never designed for programs like this.
  I find it troubling that we would take a low-cost, high-impact 
program that has been developed in a number of States to help savers 
who have no program, that the private sector doesn't think they are 
important enough to invest in--or it is not worth their while--and 
strip that away. I think there is a reason why some business 
organizations, like the Chamber and other financial groups, are worried 
about this because this is a low-cost, high-impact, transparent program 
that will deliver benefits directly to employees. That is what more 
people should have.
  I think they are afraid of the model and they are not willing to give 
the flexibility to the States in retirement that they are trying to do, 
throwing out the Affordable Care Act and having all sorts of innovation 
there.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record additional letters 
in opposition to this resolution.

                                                 Service Employees


                                          International Union,

                                Washington, DC, February 13, 2017.
       Dear Representative: On behalf of the two million members 
     of the Service Employees International Union (SEID), I urge 
     you to vote against H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67, resolutions 
     disapproving of the Department of Labor's rules relating to 
     retirement savings arrangements established by states and 
     qualified state political subdivisions. The Department of 
     Labor rules make it easier for small employers to offer their 
     workers access to programs for retirement savings and achieve 
     an essential component of the American dream.
       There is a retirement savings crisis in our country. Fifty-
     five million workers do not have access to a retirement 
     savings plan at work. As a result, nearly half of all workers 
     have no retirement assets--no pension, no 401(k), and no IRA. 
     States have stepped in to begin to address this crisis with 
     innovative legislation that gives workers the opportunity to 
     set aside their own money in low-fee, professionally managed 
     savings accounts. Importantly, private sector money managers 
     and administrators will be hired to run these programs on 
     behalf of the states, generating American jobs. The 
     Department of Labor issued rules that clarified that 
     employers would not be subject to the fiduciary 
     responsibilities and reporting requirements of the Employee 
     Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) under these state 
     initiatives.
       In addition to helping workers achieve a dignified 
     retirement, the state initiatives provide small businesses 
     with easy, low-cost access to a retirement savings plan. 
     Small employers are the least likely to offer retirement 
     savings plans because the cost can be prohibitive and the 
     ERISA requirements can be onerous at the start. The state 
     initiatives also are fiscally prudent actions that will save 
     public spending. A new study by Segal Consulting estimated 
     that state Medicaid costs would be reduced by $5 billion 
     within the first ten years of implementation of the state 
     plans. Those savings would grow exponentially over time as 
     more workers retired with greater amounts of savings.
       Five states--California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland 
     and Oregon--have enacted legislation and will soon begin 
     taking payroll contributions. About half of states have 
     studied or are studying this concept. Massachusetts and 
     Vermont are considering legislation that would also allow 
     employer contributions. Contrary to misinformation being 
     spread about these plans, the program funds are not 
     guaranteed by the state, and state and participating 
     employers will have no liability for the payment of 
     retirement funds earned by the participants. These state 
     plans are bipartisan public/private initiatives that 
     appropriately use states as laboratories for innovation. They 
     are a win for workers, for employers, and for governments at 
     all levels.
       SEIU is also deeply concerned with efforts under the 
     Congressional Review Act (CRA) to circumvent the Executive 
     Branch process of rulemaking and issuing regulatory guidance. 
     Using the CRA authority to undo Agency regulations and 
     guidance crafted carefully and with public input strips away 
     the importance of the rulemaking process. Using this 
     authority could significantly weaken or undo past and future 
     rules that protect workers.
       SEIU respectfully urges you to vote against resolutions 
     H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67 disapproving of these important 
     rules. We may add votes on this legislation to our 
     legislative scorecard. If you have any questions please 
     contact John Gray, Legislative Director.
           Sincerely,
                                                   Mary Kay Henry,
     International President.
                                  ____



                                      Small Business Majority,

                                Washington, DC, February 13, 2017.
     Re House Joint Resolutions 66 and 67.

     Hon. Kevin McCarthy,
     Majority Leader, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Majority Leader McCarthy: As a leading representative 
     of the 28 million small businesses in America, Small Business 
     Majority writes today urging you to oppose HJR 66 and HJR 67, 
     which would overturn the U.S. Department of Labor's rule 
     enabling states to establish retirement savings plans for 
     private sector workers. Striking down this rule would have a 
     chilling effect on states that are setting up their own 
     retirement savings programs, which would be harmful to small 
     businesses and their employees. We strongly believe states 
     should be allowed to decide whether to implement these types 
     of programs and how best to administer them in order to serve 
     small businesses and employees who struggle to save for 
     retirement.
       The U.S. currently suffers from a retirement savings gap of 
     more than $6 trillion, and more than three million households 
     do not have any retirement savings at all. This lack of 
     savings for retirement disproportionately affects those who 
     are employed by small businesses. Eighty percent of workers 
     employed by businesses with fewer than 25 employees do not 
     have any sort of pension or retirement plan at all. This is 
     important because small businesses employ about half of all 
     private sector workers. Unless small business owners and 
     their employees start doing more to prepare for the future, 
     many Americans will not have enough money for their golden 
     years.
       Small Business Majority's state opinion polling found small 
     business owners struggle to offer retirement savings programs 
     due to a number of barriers, but they want to offer this 
     benefit to their employees because it helps them attract and 
     retain talent. What's more, the majority of small employers 
     are concerned their employees will not have enough saved for 
     retirement. That's why small businesses overwhelmingly 
     support state efforts to establish state-administered 
     retirement savings programs, like the Secure Choice Savings 
     programs in Illinois and California.
       When implemented, these programs will offer a convenient 
     and affordable option for small businesses and their 
     employees to save for the future. What's more, these programs 
     will not be funded by taxpayer dollars, and employers will 
     not contribute to funds, manage funds or have any 
     responsibility for financial advice for their employees' 
     investments.

[[Page H1214]]

       Business owners know offering benefits like retirement 
     savings create a happier and more productive staff, which in 
     turn leads to increased productivity. Many small business 
     owners think of their employees as family, so it's not 
     surprising they support programs that enable them to foster a 
     happier workforce while protecting their workers and their 
     bottom line.
       Additionally, programs like these help level the playing 
     field between small businesses that want to offer retirement 
     benefits but can't, and their larger counterparts that can. 
     This helps small businesses compete for the best employees, 
     and gives employers peace of mind that they are doing what's 
     best for their workers.
       Small employers need retirement savings options for their 
     employees that make sense for their business and their bottom 
     line. State-administered retirement savings programs, like 
     those currently being established in California and Illinois, 
     can help many small business employees better save for their 
     futures. We urge you to uphold the Labor Department's rule 
     and allow states to decide how best to serve their small 
     businesses and private sector workers.
           Sincerely,
     John Arensmeyer.
                                  ____

                                       Tuesday, February 14, 2017.
     Hon. Paul Ryan,
     Speaker of the House,
     Washington, DC.
       Speaker Ryan: Nearly 55 million workers across the country 
     lack access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, and 
     millions more fail to take full advantage of employer-
     supported plans. Without access to easy and affordable 
     retirement savings options, far too many workers are on track 
     to retire into poverty where they will depend on Social 
     Security, state, and federal benefit programs for their most 
     basic retirement needs. States across the country have been 
     innovating to address this problem. We are writing to 
     respectfully urge you to protect the rights of states and 
     large municipalities to implement their own, unique 
     approaches.
       Last week, two resolutions of disapproval (H.J. Res 66, 
     H.J. Res 67) were introduced to repeal key Department of 
     Labor (US DOL) rules. If passed, these resolutions would make 
     it more difficult for states and municipalities to seek 
     solutions to the growing retirement savings crisis. We ask 
     that you support the role of states as policy innovators by 
     voting ``No'' on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67.
       Thirty states and municipalities are in the process of 
     implementing or exploring the establishment of state-
     facilitated, private-sector retirement programs. Eight states 
     have passed legislation to allow individuals to save their 
     own earnings for retirement (no employer funds are involved 
     as these are not defined benefit plans). While most state and 
     municipal plans will be governed by independent boards, the 
     day-to-day investment management and recordkeeping would not 
     be conducted by the state, but rather by private sector 
     firms--the same financial institutions that currently provide 
     retirement savings products. These programs would apply to 
     businesses that don't currently offer a retirement plan, and 
     would in no way limit an employer's ability to seek out and 
     offer their own employer-sponsored plan.
       Many states and municipalities are planning to use 
     Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that will be wholly 
     owned and controlled by the participant, while others are 
     pursuing options such as Voluntary Multiple Employer Plans 
     (MEPs) and marketplace concepts. These plans would follow all 
     relevant guidelines and other noted regulations, and current 
     consumer protections would apply. Many of these programs are 
     modeled off of the 529 College Savings Plans or supplemental 
     public retirement plans that states administer today.
       States are pursuing a multitude of solutions to address 
     this growing retirement savings crisis. We request that you 
     vote ``No'' on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67 with the 
     understanding that the US DOL rule provides important 
     flexibility to states and large municipalities as they seek 
     to address the growing retirement crisis facing this country. 
     We insist that states be allowed to maintain their 
     constitutional rights to implement such legislation.
       We are happy to provide additional information or answer 
     any questions. Thank you for your support.
           Sincerely,
       Beth Pearce, Vermont State Treasurer; Joseph Torsella, 
     Pennsylvania State Treasurer; Allison Ball, Kentucky State 
     Treasurer; Ron Crane, Idaho State Treasurer; David Da mschen, 
     Utah State Treasurer; Kelly Mitchell, Indiana State 
     Treasurer; Tobias Read, Oregon State Treasurer; Lynn Fitch, 
     Mississippi State Treasurer; Terry Hayes, Maine State 
     Treasurer; Michael Frerichs, Illinois State Treasurer; John 
     Chiang, California State Treasurer; Brian Bonlender, 
     Director, Washington State Department of Commerce; Nancy 
     Kopp, Maryland State Treasurer; Kevin Lembo, Connecticut 
     State Comptroller; Ron Henson, Louisiana State Treasurer.
                                  ____

                                                February 14, 2017.
     Hon. Paul Ryan,
     Speaker of the House,
     Washington, DC.
       Speaker Ryan, Nearly 55 million workers across the country 
     lack access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, and 
     millions more fail to take full advantage of employer-
     supported plans. Without access to easy and affordable 
     retirement savings options, far too many workers are on track 
     to retire into poverty where they will depend on Social 
     Security, state, and federal benefit programs for their most 
     basic retirement needs. States across the country have been 
     innovating to address this problem. We are writing to 
     respectfully urge you to protect the rights of states and 
     large municipalities to implement their own, unique 
     approaches.
       Last week, two resolutions of disapproval (H.J. Res 66, 
     H.J. Res 67) were introduced to repeal key Department of 
     Labor (US DOL) rules. If passed, these resolutions would make 
     it more difficult for states and municipalities to seek 
     solutions to the growing retirement savings crisis. We ask 
     that you support the role of states as policy innovators by 
     voting ``No'' on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67.
       Thirty states and municipalities are in the process of 
     implementing or exploring the establishment of state-
     facilitated, private-sector retirement programs. Eight states 
     have passed legislation to allow individuals to save their 
     own earnings for retirement (no employer funds are involved 
     as these are not defined benefit plans). While most state and 
     municipal plans will be governed by independent boards, the 
     day-to-day investment management and recordkeeping would not 
     be conducted by the state, but rather by private sector 
     firms--the same financial institutions that currently provide 
     retirement savings products. These programs would apply to 
     businesses that don't currently offer a retirement plan, and 
     would in no way limit an employer's ability to seek out and 
     offer their own employer-sponsored plan.
       Many states and municipalities are planning to use 
     Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that will be wholly 
     owned and controlled by the participant, while others are 
     pursuing options such as Voluntary Multiple Employer Plans 
     (MEPs) and marketplace concepts. These plans would follow all 
     relevant guidelines and other noted regulations, and current 
     consumer protections would apply. Many of these programs are 
     modeled off of the 529 College Savings Plans or supplemental 
     public retirement plans that states administer today.
       States are pursuing a multitude of solutions to address 
     this growing retirement savings crisis. We request that you 
     vote ``No'' on H.J. Res 66 and H.J. Res 67 with the 
     understanding that the US DOL rule provides important 
     flexibility to states and large municipalities as they seek 
     to address the growing retirement crisis facing this country. 
     We insist that states and large municipalities be allowed to 
     maintain their constitutional rights to implement such 
     legislation.
       We are happy to provide additional information or answer 
     any questions. Thank you for your support.
           Sincerely,
     Tim Burgess,
       Seattle City Council, Finance Chair.
     Scott M. Stringer,
       New York City Comptroller.
     Alan L. Butkovitz,
       Philadelphia City Controller.
                                  ____

                                                February 15, 2017.
     House of Representatives,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative: We are writing to strongly oppose 
     H.J.Res 66, which overturns the recent Department of Labor 
     rule supporting states' efforts to establish retirement 
     savings plans for non-governmental workers. As a national, 
     non-partisan Millennial research and advocacy organization, 
     we have been working hard to strengthen the financial 
     security of young adults by increasing access to retirement 
     savings plans. This legislation may have a chilling effect on 
     the implementation of Secure Choice, an important new program 
     that will help address the looming retirement crisis without 
     costing taxpayers a dime.
       Changing dynamics in the workforce mean that Millennials 
     tend to work in industries that offer lower wages and fewer 
     benefits. Despite an interest in saving the small amounts of 
     discretionary income they do have, many young adults do not 
     have access to workplace retirement savings plans, including 
     less than half of low-income Millennial workers. Young adults 
     are significantly less financially secure today than their 
     parents were just one generation ago: 25-34 year-old 
     Millennials have half the net wealth and earn 20 percent 
     lower incomes when compared to 25-34 year-old Baby Boomers. 
     Limiting access to tools for saving makes catching up 
     financially that much more challenging for this generation.
       Many states have worked diligently for over four years to 
     develop Secure Choice, which will provide workers who do not 
     have access to a workplace retirement plan a simple, 
     voluntary, low-cost, and portable retirement plan. Experts 
     agree that direct contributions from a paycheck into a 
     retirement account is the simplest and most effective way for 
     individuals to save.
       This is why support among Millennials for a state 
     facilitated retirement savings plan like Secure Choice is 
     extraordinarily high: over 85 percent of young adults across 
     political affiliation and ideology support ``a voluntary 
     option for workers without a way to save for retirement at 
     work.''

[[Page H1215]]

       We urge you to oppose H.J.Res 66 and allow individual 
     states to develop the tools young Americans need to save for 
     retirement.
           Sincerely,
     Young Invincibles.
                                  ____

                                             State of Connecticut,


                              Office of the State Comptroller,

                                  Hartford, CT, February 14, 2017.
     Hon. Joe Courtney:
     Rayburn House Office Building,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Representative Courtney: I am writing to seek your 
     support in preserving and strengthening the rights of 
     Connecticut and other states to address a growing retirement 
     savings crisis that threatens our state and national economy.
       I am proud that Connecticut is among the states leading the 
     way for retirement security. The Connecticut Retirement 
     Security Authority savings program will ensure that 
     retirement savings opportunities are more readily attainable 
     for the 600,000 private-sector workers who lack access to a 
     retirement savings plan through the workplace and who deserve 
     financial security after a lifetime of work.
       According to Connecticut-specific data from the Schwartz 
     Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School, 
     between 2000 and 2010, employers offering a retirement plan 
     declined from 66 percent to 59 percent. In other words, four 
     out of 10 workers residing in Connecticut do not have access 
     to a retirement plan at work.
       In Connecticut's market analysis conducted by Boston 
     College, we found that these uncovered workers were more 
     likely to earn lower income and are largely unserved by the 
     financial sector, so their needs are often different from 
     other 401(k) participants. It is important to protect against 
     a transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top because high 
     fees on low dollar accounts are a huge obstacle to retirement 
     savings, particularly for lower income workers.
       There is an entire generation of employees, many of them 
     lifelong hard-working middle class people, who are headed to 
     retirement financially unequipped, in part due to lack of 
     access to a workplace-based retirement savings option. This 
     is a problem, not only for those individuals and families who 
     are financially forced to delay retirement indefinitely, but 
     for our entire state and economy. In many cases, these 
     individuals may be forced to turn to the state for assistance 
     with health care, nursing care, food, housing, energy or 
     other costly services.
       The goal is not to compete or replace the private market, 
     but to fulfill a significant unmet need in the market that 
     must be answered for the sake of those families and our 
     entire state economy. The market is currently failing to 
     reach nearly half of our workforce even though the demand is 
     there According to an AARP 2015 survey, 64% of small 
     businesses in Connecticut that were not offering a retirement 
     plan stated that they would take advantage of a state plan if 
     it were offered.
       Connecticut was heartened by the U.S. Department of Labor 
     rule last August, providing a safe harbor for states to 
     conduct these programs. While we have been advised by several 
     ERISA attorneys that the U.S. Department of Labor rule was 
     not required, and that states already have the right to 
     establish such programs, the proposed bills nullifying the 
     U.S. Department of Labor rule and attempting to roll back 
     states' rights may create a chilling effect on the companies 
     who would want to administer these programs. I strongly urge 
     you to vote against H.J.Res.66 and support states' rights to 
     create these programs.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Kevin Lembo,
                                                State Comptroller.

  Ms. BONAMICI. I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. 
Schakowsky), the co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Seniors.
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding and 
her leadership on the Working Families Agenda.
  Get this: Americans over 44 years of age are more afraid of running 
out of income in retirement than they are afraid of dying. Median 
retirement savings in the United States of America is only $2,500. We 
have a retirement crisis. Only my Republican colleagues haven't gotten 
the message.
  The New York Times asked: ``Who'd Want to Limit Retirement Plans?'' 
and answered with two words: ``House Republicans.''
  It isn't just that Republicans haven't made retirement security a 
priority; they are actually working against it. They oppose the rule 
that saves retirees up to $17 billion a year, lost to bad investment 
advice, a rule that simply requires financial advisers to give advice 
that is in the client's best interest, not their own.
  Today Republicans are trying to prevent States and cities from 
expanding private retirement savings. Nearly 1.3 million workers in my 
State, Illinois, lack job-based retirement savings options. State 
Senator Daniel Biss won passage of the Illinois Secure Choice Savings 
Program that creates a retirement plan with automatic deductions that 
has proven successful in increasing individual retirement savings. Last 
summer, the U.S. Department of Labor acted to move this plan forward 
for Illinois and other States.
  Today we face Republican efforts to block action, to overturn the 
Department of Labor rule and jeopardize the financial security of 1.3 
million Illinois workers and millions of others across the country 
without access to job-based retirement plans.
  There is a saying: ``Lead, follow, or get out of the way.'' If my 
Republican colleagues won't lead or follow, at least they should get 
out of Illinois' way.
  I urge a ``no'' vote.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a letter, 
undersigned, representing thousands of businesses, individual 
employees, and retirees from almost two dozen specific groups in 
support of H.J. Res. 66.

                                                February 13, 2017.
       To the Members of the United States Congress: The 
     undersigned organizations, representing thousands of 
     businesses, express our support for H.J. Res. 66 and H.J. 
     Res. 67, resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional 
     Review Act (``CRA'') to invalidate the Department of Labor's 
     (``DOL'') ``safe harbor'' regulations on Savings Arrangements 
     Established by State and Political Subdivisions for Non-
     Governmental Employees.
       These ``safe harbor'' regulations allow states and cities 
     to mandate private employer participation in state-sponsored 
     automatic IRA programs. It also provides that states that 
     offer these programs are not subject to ERISA despite 
     considerable opinions to the contrary. Thus the DOL is 
     encouraging state and local governments to provide private 
     sector employees retirement programs that do not have the 
     same high-level protections as other private employer-
     sponsored plans.
       Below we highlight a number of our concerns with the ``safe 
     harbor.''
       Lost worker protections--States offering these plans to 
     private sector employees are not subject to ERISA, therefore 
     limiting the protections for workers in these plans.
       Different standards from state to state result in an 
     administrative quagmire for employers--States can and will 
     have different rules for their programs, so employers 
     operating in multiple states, or just with workers from 
     multiple states, will have to track the complex web of 
     varying rules to ensure compliance.
       Fewer employer plans, especially among small businesses--If 
     a state mandates auto-IRAs, some employers will decide to 
     avoid taking on the work of offering their own plans and let 
     the state take it on instead, resulting in the loss of 
     significant retirement savings opportunities for their 
     workers.
       Mismanagement of state pension funds--Many states have 
     mismanaged their public employee retirement systems, and it's 
     not clear they'll do a better job controlling assets of 
     millions of small private sector savers. Also, some state 
     pension funds restrict investments to favor state initiatives 
     or engage in politically motivated investment and divestment 
     schemes instead of investing in the economic interest of the 
     workers.
       Imposes a mandate on private employers--The ``safe harbor'' 
     requires that the state program mandate employer 
     participation even though retirement savings plans are 
     traditionally voluntary.
       We urge Congress to take timely action under the CRA to 
     vitiate these misguided regulations. We thank you for 
     addressing this important issue.
           Sincerely,
       Air Conditioning Contractors of America, American Benefits 
     Council, American Composites Manufacturers Association, 
     Financial Services Institute, Financial Services Roundtable, 
     Heating Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors 
     International (HARDI), Insured Retirement Institute, 
     International Franchise Association, Investment Company 
     Institute, National Association of Insurance and Financial 
     Advisors (NAIFA), National Black Chamber of Commerce.
       National Electrical Contractors Association, National 
     Federation of Independent Business, National Retail 
     Federation, Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles 
     Association (SMART), Small Business & Entrepreneurship 
     Council, Small Business Council of America, Small Business 
     Legislative Council, Society for Human Resource Management, 
     The ESOP Association, The Latino Coalition, U.S. Chamber of 
     Commerce.
       State Chapters of NAIFA
       NAIFA--Alabama, NAIFA--Alaska, NAIFA--Arizona, NAIFA--
     Arkansas, NAIFA--California, NAIFA--Colorado, NAIFA--
     Connecticut, NAIFA--Delaware, NAIFA--Florida, NAIFA--Georgia, 
     NAIFA Greater Washington D.C., NAIFA--Guam, NAIFA--Hawaii, 
     NAIFA--Idaho.
       NAIFA--Illinois, NAIFA--Indiana, NAIFA--Iowa, NAIFA--
     Kansas, NAIFA--Kentucky, NAIFA--Louisiana, NAIFA--Maine, 
     NAIFA--Maryland, NAIFA--Massachusetts, NAIFA--Michigan, 
     NAIFA--Minnesota, NAIFA--Mississippi, NAIFA--Missouri, 
     NAIFA--Montana.
       NAIFA--Nebraska, NAIFA--Nevada, NAIFA--New Hampshire, 
     NAIFA--New Jersey, NAIFA--New Mexico, NAIFA--New

[[Page H1216]]

     York, NAIFA--North Carolina, NAIFA--North Dakota, NAIFA--
     Ohio, NAIFA--Oklahoma, NAIFA--Oregon, NAIFA--Pennsylvania, 
     NAIFA--Puerto Rico, NAIFA--Rhode Island.
       NAIFA--South Carolina, NAIFA--South Dakota, NAIFA--
     Tennessee, NAIFA--Texas, NAIFA--Utah, NAIFA--Vermont, NAIFA--
     Virginia, NAIFA--Washington, NAIFA--West Virginia, NAIFA--
     Wisconsin, NAIFA--Wyoming.

  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Ohio (Ms. Kaptur), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, America should no longer be shocked with the 
Republican mantra of ``no'' to everything--that is, until Wall Street 
and the financial services industry calls. Today's action on H.J. Res. 
66 and 67 illustrates this unfortunate reality.
  Congressional Republicans once again are putting the financial 
industry ahead of average American workers. Their attempt to roll back 
President Obama's Department of Labor rules, which expanded working 
families' abilities to save their own retirement money through State- 
and large-city-administered retirement savings programs. The Republican 
proposal restricts saving options for working people.
  For years, Republicans have hawked a false crisis about Social 
Security solvency; meanwhile, now they are proposing a very real 
retirement security crisis for America's seniors. We are nearing a 
boiling point. The difference between what average Americans have saved 
for retirement and where their savings should be is staggering: more 
than $6 trillion in shortfalls.
  Roughly half of all U.S. families have no money set aside for 
retirement. Thirty-nine million Americans don't have access to a 
workplace retirement savings plan. Even Americans who work diligently 
to save for retirement are falling behind. With 10,000 American seniors 
reaching retirement age every day, enormous strain on the Federal 
budget is mounting to make up the difference.
  Today most workers don't have a pension. Those that do, can't be so 
sure it will be there throughout their golden years. There has been a 
dramatic decline in guaranteed retirement benefits through employer 
support.
  Without access to easy and affordable savings vehicles, far too many 
American workers will retire into poverty. This leads to overreliance 
on Social Security and other State and Federal assistance programs. It 
surely isn't the American Dream.
  President Obama identified this crisis. He spoke to Congress about 
trying to work together to address it through bipartisan action, but 
our Republican colleagues said ``no.'' Their failure to act drove 
President Obama to coordinate with States, eight of which have already 
passed laws to create State-administered retirement programs for 
private sector workers, which H.J. Res. 66 and 67 would roll back.
  More than half the States are considering similar action to improve 
retirement readiness, and these plans help small businesses offer 
savings plans for their employees without imposing financial burdens.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 10 seconds to the 
gentlewoman.
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, so what do Congressional Republicans have as 
an alternative solution? Nothing.
  The cost to roll this rule back is significant. It is not good for 
retirees or workers, and it maintains the growing burden on taxpayers 
who fund assistance programs.
  I urge all of my colleagues to reject this shortsighted action. Stand 
up for the American working class and oppose both H.J. Res. 66 and H.J. 
Res. 67.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I just make one comment that, when my 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle had both Houses and the White 
House and the opportunity to do these reforms, they weren't done. Yet, 
now, when we stand with great concern because of a midnight rule that 
was put through that takes away the security of retirees in programs 
that will be, as I said earlier, foisted upon employers to 
automatically enroll their employees into government-run IRAs--allowing 
the same States to skirt the Federal law of ERISA--and deny workers 
important protections, we are pushed back on.
  I have some concern about that. When the opportunity to do what they 
say they want to be done could have been done with both Houses under 
control of the same party and the White House, this was not undertaken. 
Yet we are called out and told that we are hurting retirees when, in 
fact, we are giving assurances to retirees that you will come under the 
same protections regardless of where you go, and we expect that to be 
the case because it has worked. That is decried. I find that less than 
objective in its honesty.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Pelosi), the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of 
Representatives.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for her hard work on 
this important issue.
  Mr. Speaker, every American should be able to trust in the promise 
that, after a life of hard work, a secure and dignified retirement will 
be there for them. But today, that promise is at risk. Half of all 
private sector employees in America, almost 60 million people, do not 
have access to any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan.
  It is a problem that Republicans should remember when they plan to 
raise costs on seniors, when they work to slash Medicaid and they 
destroy the sacred guarantee of Medicare.
  Yet, once again, Republicans have come to this floor not with the 
retirement security of hardworking families in mind, but with a greedy 
Wall Street first agenda.
  Under the Obama administration, the Department of Labor empowered the 
States to create innovative solutions to the retirement savings crisis. 
The gentleman is talking about--some of these savings didn't even exist 
when we had the majority.
  In States across the Nation, the great laboratories of our democracy 
went to work just as they should. My State of California decided to 
create something called Secure Choice, a State-run retirement plan that 
allows employees to be auto-enrolled into an IRA if they work for a 
business with five or more employees.
  In doing so, California will give almost 7 million workers access to 
retirement savings--no substitute for a pension or a 401(k), but a 
vital step toward a greater retirement security. Other States have 
stepped forward with their own plan, the gentlewoman's State of Oregon 
being one of them: Oregon, California, Illinois, Washington State, 
Connecticut.
  The Republican measure targets workers' savings accounts in those 
States and chills efforts to foster retirement savings accounts in some 
20 other States. In some cities, including the city of our chair, Mr. 
Crowley, New York City is attempting to move in that direction.
  So today, instead of supporting States' innovation--this is a states' 
rights bill to the party of states' rights--Republicans have decided 
Wall Street's profits are more important than workers' retirement 
savings.
  This Republican resolution is opposed by the AARP, the National 
Conference of State Legislatures, the AFL-CIO. In fact, the AARP letter 
to Congress states, starts, as a matter of fact:

       On behalf of hardworking Americans who struggle to save for 
     retirement, AARP urges you to vote against a Congressional 
     Review Act resolution to overturn the Department of Labor's 
     final rule on ``Savings Arrangements Established by States 
     for Non-Governmental Employees.''

  And while Republicans race to do the bidding of their Wall Street 
friends, they still have not lifted a finger to create more good-paying 
jobs for hardworking Americans.

                              {time}  1515

  Let's just make a comparison. On Friday, it will be 4 weeks since 
President Trump took office.
  Let's go back 8 years to when President Obama took office. On January 
20, 2009, President Obama stood on the steps of the Capitol and asked 
for swift, bold action now to create good-paying jobs, to establish 
education for the 21st century, and the list goes on for swift, bold 
action now.
  One week and one day later, the House passed the American Recovery

[[Page H1217]]

and Reinvestment Act. One week after that, the Senate passed the bill. 
And on February 17, which would be Friday of this week, 4 weeks since 
the inauguration of President Obama, President Obama signed into law 
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which created or saved 
around 4 million jobs of the American people, stopping the loss of jobs 
that existed in the Bush administration. That is something that is so 
remarkable.
  So where is the jobs bill from the Republicans? Wasn't this election 
about jobs? Where is their jobs bill? Where is the infrastructure bill?
  By the way, President Obama also passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay 
Act even before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He also 
signed the SCHIP program, which had bipartisan support in the Congress 
and much more.
  This do-nothing Congress, except do stuff for your friends who will 
exploit the environment, clean air, clean water--you name it--
retirement savings, has done nothing.
  As I said, within 4 weeks of the Obama administration, all those 
bills had passed.
  Today is February 15, and I ask my Republican colleagues: Where is 
your jobs bill? Why do you have time for Wall Street's agenda, but no 
plans to create jobs for hardworking Americans?
  This is the people's House. We must do the people's business. You 
must do a better job by the people we serve. When you are ready to do 
that, we look forward to working with you in that regard.
  I join the AARP in urging a ``no'' vote on this ill-advised CRA.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  In response to the gentlewoman from California, I would just say that 
much of what we have been doing for the past 4 weeks on the floor, 
including today, is trying to give a shot in the arm to our economy, to 
our workers, our workforce, our retirees, and savers to take off some 
of the traps that have been put in place that have frustrated this 
economy and the growth of this economy for 8 years.
  There is a reason for what took place at the ballot box. And the 
expectation is that we move to take some of the clamps of the Federal 
Government off the private sector, the States, the local communities, 
and, more importantly, the citizens of this country.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire as to the 
remaining time, please.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from Oregon has 4\1/4\ 
minutes remaining.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Maryland (Mr. Sarbanes).
  Mr. SARBANES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to yet another 
reckless attack by the majority on the retirement security of millions 
of Americans. I don't get why the majority is so determined to go after 
the retirement security of so many millions of Americans across this 
country, but that is what H.J. Res. 66 would do.
  It may get harder for everyday Americans to prepare for their 
retirement. The resolution we are considering today would prevent State 
governments--it doesn't make any sense to do this--from providing 
retirement savings opportunities for their citizens.
  The fact of the matter is, as was just alluded to, this resolution 
was designed at the behest of Wall Street and well-connected lobbyists 
to sideline competition and transparent financial products in the 
retirement savings market. But this isn't the first time.
  They put all their energy behind blocking the automatic IRA when it 
was a proposal that came forward a few years back, even though it was a 
Heritage Foundation proposal. Then they went after the fiduciary rule 
that President Obama and the Department of Labor sought to put in place 
that would protect our retirees from unscrupulous investment advisers.
  Then President Trump comes in with an executive order to undo what 
the Department of Labor was trying to do. So we shouldn't be surprised 
by this action, but we ought to be furious about it.
  My State, Maryland, was one of the States that tried to figure out 
how to protect retirees because we couldn't get it done up here. Now, 
what are we doing? The party of states' rights is advancing a 
Congressional Review Act resolution designed to hinder State 
legislatures that are working to provide access to safe and affordable 
retirement savings options for their citizens. We shouldn't allow this 
to happen.
  I encourage my colleagues to reject this senseless resolution.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I thank all of my colleagues who came this afternoon to speak in 
opposition to this resolution. It shows how important it is to the 
working people in our States and in our districts. These are people who 
do not have a retirement plan. That is who we are looking out for.
  I urge all my colleagues today to stand up for workers who deserve 
that chance at saving for retirement and who will get that chance 
because Oregon and other States have stepped up and are taking action.
  Again, the Department of Labor safe harbor rule applies to States 
that have strict investor protections. We wouldn't be here today if 
those strict investor protections were not maintained.
  I especially urge my colleagues, particularly those of us who are 
concerned about states' rights, not to undermine States like Oregon and 
all the others that have stepped up to create these innovative 
solutions. There is a gap. That is why so many people today do not have 
retirement savings.
  Colleagues, please join us in opposing H.J. Res. 66.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. WALBERG. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time, and 
I express appreciation for the full-throated debate that went on here. 
It is good to do that.
  It is good for the opportunity to make it very clear that retirement 
security is a significant challenge facing this country. We have said 
that. I am glad that on the floor of the House today both sides of the 
aisle indicated concerns for that. Far too many men and women are 
struggling to save for their retirement years.
  Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen regulations like the 
fiduciary rule that will make it harder for low- and middle-income 
families to save for retirement. And we have seen a regulation that 
would strip away important protections for retirement savers.
  As policymakers, we must do more to expand retirement options for 
workers. That is a given. That we can agree on. However, the regulatory 
loophole created by the Obama administration is clearly not the answer.
  I want to remind my colleagues that this resolution does not prevent 
States from coming up with new retirement options for workers. That is 
not what this resolution is about, and simply reading it will assure 
you of that.
  This resolution is about ensuring every American has strong 
protections for a secure retirement.
  I urge my colleagues to protect retirement savers by voting in favor 
of H.J. Res. 66.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 116, the previous question is ordered on 
the joint resolution.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the joint 
resolution.
  The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed and read a third 
time, and was read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on passage of the joint 
resolution.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Ms. BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.

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