It may be a forlorn hope, but five Democrats are approaching the president to ask that he not sign a Republican-passed bill that would ban cities from launching retirement plans.
Five Democratic senators, according to a Reuters report, are hoping to prevail over other advice Trump is getting from Republicans to reverse a Department of Labor rule enacted by the Obama administration that would help cities to launch retirement savings plans for low-income private-sector workers.
The Trump administration has been making hard use of a law called the Congressional Review Act that allows Congress to repeal regulations it doesn’t like. A simple majority vote in both houses, coupled with the president’s signature, is all that’s necessary to undo the work of a previous administration—as long as the regulations under scrutiny were finalized within 60 legislative days of repeal.
The Obama administration approved not just the rule on city retirement plans, but another to help states create retirement plans; the Senate is expected to go after the state rule after the Easter recess.
Both rules were designed to help workers who have no access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan and allow states and cities to design plans for private-sector workers whose employers do not offer 401(k) or other retirement benefits.
The rules would allow employees to enroll automatically in plans such as that launched in California, and they provide exemptions for plans launched by cities and states from the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, something that both cities and states say they need for the plans to function properly.
Trade groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Investment Company Institute oppose such plans, claiming that under them, workers would lack adequate pension protections.
So far Congress has passed 13 resolutions repealing Obama-era rules, and Trump has already signed 11 of them. He is expected to sign this one as well, but Patty Murray, D-Wash., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the top Democrats on committees overseeing pensions and tax matters, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and Robert Casey, D-Penna., have sent a letter to Trump saying that overturning the rule would bring harm to more than 2 million American workers who otherwise would be in a position to benefit from a city-run retirement plan.
The letter was quoted in the report saying, “We ask you to work with us to increase access to retirement savings programs and promote greater retirement security.”