(In April 27 story, corrects name of Republican senator who has
said he will not vote for the resolution to Bob Corker instead
of Tom Cotton, paragraph 11)
By Lisa Lambert and Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, April 27 Lawmakers, lobbyists and
interest groups are making a final push in their fight over
regulations enacted during former President Barack Obama's last
months in office, with the financial services industry working
hard to kill a rule on retirement plans run by states.
Using an obscure 1996 law known as the Congressional Review
Act, Republicans have passed 13 resolutions killing Obama-era
regulations on energy, the environment, gun control, education,
family-planning funding and corruption. Once the rules are
eliminated, agencies can never create "substantially similar"
The deadline for introducing any new CRA resolutions on
regulations enacted under Obama was nearly a month ago, and
Republicans are working to complete resolutions already in the
legislative pipeline before the third week of May.
Currently, the resolutions only require simple majorities to
pass both houses of Congress to reach President Donald Trump for
signing. After May 11, they must win 60 votes in the Senate to
pass, a steep hurdle, given voting margins on CRA resolutions
have been tight and Vice President Mike Pence had to break a tie
A spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan said the House of
Representatives will probably not have any more CRA votes.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said
McConnell "has expressed interest in considering more"
The resolution on state-run retirement plans has been caught
in limbo for weeks. Obama's Labor Department had exempted both
state and city-run retirement plans from the 1974 Employee
Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a law designed to
protect workers' savings with detailed compliance requirements.
Private-sector workers whose employers do not offer 401(k)
or other retirement benefits, and who often have low incomes,
are automatically enrolled in plans being launched in some
states, such as California and Illinois. States say the
exemption lets employers pass workers' money into plans without
footing compliance costs.
States are farther along than cities in establishing the
programs, with cities still in the drafting stages. On March 30,
the Senate approved a resolution already passed in the House
killing the exemption for city programs. Trump signed it in
Voting on a near identical resolution on states' programs
was expected to follow immediately, but so far the measure has
not come to the floor.
Congressional aides say it has been hard to collect enough
Republican votes to pass the measure. Republican Senator Bob
Corker, of Tennessee, has stated that he will not vote for the
resolution, and aides say Republican Senators Rand Paul, of
Kentucky, and Todd Young, of Indiana, are also leaning to vote
against it. The two senators' offices did not respond to queries
about their intentions.
Lobbyists, though, are turning up the heat.
In an April 27 letter, groups including the Investment
Company Institute and U.S. Chamber of Congress wrote to all 100
U.S. senators urging them to repeal the state retirement plan
rule, saying workers could be left unprotected.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Dan Grebler)