The House Financial Services Committee passed alternative legislation that would govern retirement investing Wednesday, but the vote fell short of bipartisanship. The bill, called the Retail Investor Protection Act (RIPA), is sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.
Seen as an alternative to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary only rule, the Retail Investor Protection Act passed by a 34-25 vote along party lines. Only Rep. David Scott, R-Ga., voted with Republicans, a surprise given the growing criticism of the DOL proposal from Democrats.
Several Democrats who voted with Wagner when she first introduced the RIPA in 2013 changed their votes this time. Ninety-six House Democrats recently signed a letter asking DOL Secretary Thomas Perez to make significant changes to the rule.
But a House GOP source said the White House is pressuring Democrats to remain supportive of the DOL proposal. In a statement, Wagner said her colleagues were “politics ahead of the best interests of millions of Americans.”
“Preserving access to sound investment advice for hardworking families is something I believe in and will continue to fight for, and I look forward to seeing this bipartisan bill on the House floor soon,” she added.
The RIPA is expected to pass the full House, as it did in 2013. Its prospects in the Senate, where the bill died there two years ago, are murkier.
Wagner's legislation would prohibit the Labor Department from instituting new rules governing financial services before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reviews the proposed regulations.
A DOL spokesman did not return phone and email messages seeking comment on the next steps for the rule. A second public comment period closed Sept. 24 and both sides await issue of a final rule.
The Obama administration has said it wants to pass the rule before the president leaves office in January 2017.