Labor chief knocks GOP 'waste of time' on fiduciary rule
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Labor Secretary Thomas PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE is sounding a warning to the Republicans trying to dismantle the Obama administration's tougher new rules for retirement savings advisers.

"President Obama has said forcefully that if this resolution were to come to his desk, he will veto. Not 'might veto it.' He will veto it," Perez said Thursday in the Capitol. "So this is, frankly, a waste of time today, what the Republicans are doing."

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Perez was referring to the Republicans' resolution to disapprove the new regulations, known as the fiduciary rule, which requires investment advisers to act solely in the interest of their clients. The proposal is slated for a vote on the House floor Thursday afternoon.

Republican critics, including Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE (Wis.), contend the rule will saddle investment advisers with expensive and burdensome new mandates which, in turn, will force them to drop clients, particularly working class people who tend to be less sophisticated investors than wealthier folks.

The Democrats have a very different view, arguing that the rule is merely designed to prevent bad-apple advisers from prioritizing their financial interests above those of their clients.

"Most investment advisers won't be affected at all because they [already] put their clients' interests first," said Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottLabor Department official steps down amid ethics questions: report The Congressional Black Caucus: America stands to lose a lot under TrumpCare House passes Paycheck Fairness Act MORE (D-Va.), "so they don't have anything to worry about."

Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, stopped short of saying the Democrats will vote unanimously against the measure, but he predicted they'll come close.

Democrats were quick to note that many of the business groups most affected by the rule have largely declined to criticize it.

"I have not heard of anybody opposed to this except Republicans," Hoyer said. "This is a perfect example of a group that's not willing to take yes for an answer."

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who had joined with Republicans late last year to draft legislation weakening an earlier version of the rule, said Thursday that subsequent changes have convinced him to back the final rule. Neal said he would no longer support his own bill if it came to the floor.

"For the moment, I think that all the questions we raised — 96 Democrats signed the letter — by and large they've been satisfied," Neal said.

Perez said it's "an important day for the middle class."

"Whether you're 22, or whether you're 62 or 72, or somewhere in between, you now have a right — a legal enforceable right — to ensure that your best interests are being served just like you do when you go to a lawyer and a doctor," Perez said after huddling with House Democrats in the Capitol just hours before the vote.

"This is one of the most important things that this administration can do to protect retirement security."