Resolutions to Halt DOL’s State-Coordinated Plan Regulations

The Rules Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled two resolutions to be considered on Monday, February 13, 2017.  Each is what is known as a “Resolution of Disapproval,” which is a congressional action whose purpose is to block regulations issued by federal agencies during a 60 legislative-day period following their issuance. Such action is authorized by the Congressional Review Act of 1996.


This action is rarely used because a Resolution of Disapproval can be thwarted by a presidential veto, and it is uncommon for federal regulations to be issued unless they align with the policies of a sitting president. (The only time a Resolution of Disapproval was successfully executed was during the transition from Democratic President Bill Clinton to Republican President George W. Bush.)


House Joint Resolution 66 would block implementation of the DOL final regulations released on August 30, 2016, that provide guidance on state-coordinated IRA-based retirement plans for the employees of private sector employers under a state’s jurisdiction. House Joint Resolution 67 would similarly block amended final regulations released on December 20, 2016, which extended to certain local units of government the authority to establish similar plans for employees of private sector employers within their boundaries, in the absence of a statewide plan.


While August 30, 2016, is more than 60 calendar days prior to the end of the 2016 session of Congress, fewer than 60 “legislative days” elapsed before the end of the session. Thus, these regulations are exposed to a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. The December 20, 2016, amendment for local government plans is clearly similarly exposed to a disapproval action. The 115th Congress that convened January 3, 2017, has a fresh 60-day period to attempt to disapprove these regulations.


If Resolutions 66 and 67 are passed in committee and by the full body of the House of Representatives, they would next have to pass by simple majority vote in the Senate and be signed by President Trump in order to block these regulations.


Watch this news for further developments.