Democrats ask Trump to veto measure repealing city retirement plan rule

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) participates in a mock swearing-in with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the opening day of the 115th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) participates in a mock swearing-in with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during the opening day of the 115th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 3, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

April 6, 2017

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a last-ditch effort, five U.S. Senate Democrats are urging President Donald Trump to veto a resolution that would repeal a Labor Department rule designed to help cities launch retirement savings plans for low-income private-sector workers by exempting such programs from strict federal pension protection laws.

In an April 5 letter that Reuters saw on Thursday, the lawmakers told Trump, a Republican, that killing the rule could harm more than 2 million Americans who would otherwise benefit from city-run retirement plans.

“We ask you to work with us to increase access to retirement savings programs and promote greater retirement security,” they wrote.

The senators signing the letter are Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrats on committees overseeing pensions and tax matters; Maria Cantwell of Washington; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania.

The resolution on city-run retirement plans is one of 13 measures that Congress has passed to repeal rules enacted under previous president Barack Obama, a Democrat.

An obscure law called the Congressional Review Act gives Congress a tool to repeal regulations that it finds objectionable. All that is required is a simple majority vote in both chambers and the president’s signature.

The law is limited, however, in how it can be used. Only rules that were finalized within 60 legislative days are eligible for repeal.

Trump has signed 11 of the 13 resolutions so far.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has advised Trump to sign the city-run retirement plan measure, and a White House official said on Wednesday that the president would sign more resolutions this month.

The Labor Department adopted two rules at the end of Obama’s tenure that exempted both city and state-run retirement plans from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, a law designed to protect workers’ savings.

The plans are geared toward private-sector workers whose employers do not offer 401(k) or other retirement benefits, and would let them enroll automatically in plans like those being introduced in places like California.

Cities and states say they need the exemption for the plans to work effectively, but trade groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Investment Company Institute want it repealed amid concerns that workers would not have adequate pension protections.

The resolution to repeal the city-run retirement plan rule narrowly passed the Senate in a 50-49 vote.

The Senate is expected to take up a separate resolution to repeal the rule on state-run retirement plans after the Easter recess.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

  • ezemyr1

    Hi Jay

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  • JakeXIII

    There are 8 individuals who hold wealth equal to the entire poorer half of the world’s population. Some of their names are Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg .They are the 0.001% and are all left wing liberals who have been screwing us for years. They pay people like you to try to blame conservatives for the problems that greedy liberals create.

  • Warpaint

    Never ask a Dem about SAVING money, they just are genetically incapable of truth or handling money.

  • the deplorable john doe

    Anything the chamber of commerce wants is bad for America.

  • tommypaine

    How have “they” been screwing “us” for years moron!! You maybe but not me!! Of course you are an idiot so what does it really matter huh!!?? The 1% are the people that provide jobs you moron!! Are you going to tell me that you are a job supplier??!! Oh please!! Move out of your moms basement and get a job!!

  • No Mas

    Pensions are Ponzi schemes, replace with 401k, starting with federal employees.

  • granddad1

    City retirement plans are working great in places like Chicago and several cities in California. Many State with retirement plans are also in trouble due to mismanagement and over abundant plans.

  • Rich FSr

    So if I understand this correctly, the Dumbocraps want to continue offering pensions to non-government employed citizens of low income? Pensions which are not protected by federal pension rules? This makes absolutely no sense. Government pensions are paid for by taxpayers in many cases. So why should non-government workers be part of that? Another way to scam the taxpayers to pay for more illegals and low-skilled workers to get benefits paid for by the citizens?

  • Betty G

    Funny how they want something now. Karma.

  • tommypaine

    This idiot is from the same state that wants to have a $15.00 an hour min. wage. MORONS!! Who is going to pay for all of this??!! Bernie Sanders!!!!!???

  • Red

    Patty Murray might as well just go full-on socialist and quit trying to pretend to be a democrat.

  • NoCo American

    Sure, ask those Dumbocrats to vote for Gorsuch. DUH!