Dems want longer comment period on fiduciary rules

Democrats are urging the administration to extend the public comment period on new regulations for financial advisers.

Eighteen Democrats have signed on to a letter circulated by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) that asks Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to add 45 days to the 75-day comment period on the regulations.

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Eight Senate Democrats and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine.) signed on to a similar letter from Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

Department of Labor officials proposed new regulations last month — known as fiduciary rules — that would require financial advisers to change the way they receive commission payments. They would also be required to inform customers about those payments.

Progressives argue the rules are needed to better protect consumers from receiving faulty financial advice from investors who pocket money from big banks off hidden commissions.

The business community, moderate Democrats and Republicans refute these allegations and argue that the regulations would pose such a regulatory burden that it would prevent low-income Americans from receiving financial advice.

The lawmakers wrote that the regulations “will have a large impact on retirement investors and the financial services industry,” according to the letter, obtained first by The Hill.

They wrote that an extension on the comment period “will provide the American people, Congress, and all other interested parties the chance to properly evaluate the proposal and provide complete and thoughtful commentary that will help ensure that the Department issues the best possible final rule that protects investors.”

Other members who signed the House letter include Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio).

Other Democrats who signed the Senate letter include Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.).

Labor officials' current comment period ends July 6. After that, officials will schedule a public hearing within 30 days. The transcript of that hearing will then undergo a public comment period.