WASHINGTON — Legislation that calls for “defunding” the effort to establish a new fiduciary standard will be considered Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee.
The provision is among a number of health care provisions dealing with the political priorities of the right-wing Republicans who control the panel.
Whether it will become law is another matter.
Currently, the Department of Labor (DOL) has such a rule out for comment until mid-August. The Obama administration hopes to finalize such legislation by year-end.
Defunding the DOL’s effort to establish a new fiduciary standard on the sale of retirement products is among of group of provisions aimed at “reducing harmful red tape.” Another would limit the authority of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to conduct walkarounds at facilities where there is a potential to harm workers or expose them to hazardous conditions.
In general, the proposed legislation would cut the DOL budget by $206 million below the level for the current fiscal year and $1.4 billion below the $11.7 billion sought by the Obama administration.
The bill introduced by Republicans would target another Obama administration initiative, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill would seek to stop implementation of the ACA by, among other things, rescinding prior-year mandatory funds and prohibiting the use of any new discretionary funding to implement the health care law.
The bill contains several other provisions aimed at restricting or shutting down programs dealing with abortion. These have also been contained in recent Appropriations Committee funding bills, but later removed.
These provisions include the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, which bars an insurance company from requiring anyone to buy individual health insurance that includes coverage of abortion or a service to which an individual has a religious or moral objection.
InsuranceNewsNet Washington Bureau Chief Arthur D. Postal has covered regulatory and legislative issues for more than 30 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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