Opinions and Speeches

Regarding Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s “Deregulators Must Follow the Law, So Regulators Will Too” (op-ed, May 23): President Obama’s former Labor Secretary Tom Perez set out to give a great gift to the trial lawyers: the ability to sue all financial institutions whenever the market goes down. And he achieved that goal in designing the so-called Fiduciary Rule that governs retirement advice. This Obama-Perez rule harms middle-class Americans, who will either lose access to advice or pay much more for it in the form of continuous substantial fees rather than one-time commissions. With the threat of lawsuits whenever the market goes down, fees for advice will skyrocket, and only the wealthy will be able to afford personalized help with their retirement.

I applaud President Trump for recognizing the flaws of this big-government regulation and taking a proactive stance on this issue by directing the Labor Department on Feb. 3 to further study the new rule, originally scheduled to take effect on April 9. The department subsequently delayed the application of the Fiduciary Rule until June 9. Secretary Acosta has announced that the department needs more time to consider its options for addressing this rule. But instead of further delaying the application beyond June 9, the department is allowing the rule to go into effect. By allowing this Obama-era rule to move forward, the administration is abandoning its responsibility to protect the availability of retirement options for middle-class Americans.

I urge the Labor Department to rethink its decision. It has one week to decide between the trial lawyers and hardworking Americans.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.)