This Week on the Hill: House Moves Against DOL Fiduciary Rule as Senate Continues Approps Work

April 25, 2016

Both chambers are in session this week, with the House looking to roll back the Labor Department’s recently finalized fiduciary rule and the Senate continuing its early work in the appropriations process. The latest fight between the lower chamber and the Administration comes over a new Department of Labor (DOL) regulation intended to ensure that retirement advisers are working in their clients’ best interest. Opponents of the rule argue that its requirements are overly burdensome and will limit consumer access to financial advice. The House will debate a joint resolution of disapproval (H.J. Res. 88) under Congressional Review Act procedures to prevent the rule from taking effect next year. House lawmakers also plan to consider measures expanding access to angel investors (H.R. 4498) and extending the District of Columbia’s school voucher program (H.R. 4901), the latter of which is a legacy of former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).  

After a productive week that saw the Senate clear both a reauthorization (H.R. 636) for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a bipartisan energy efficiency package (S. 2012), senators will continue debate on the Energy and Water Development spending vehicle – the first fiscal 2017 appropriations bill to reach the floor of either chamber. Four amendments, dealing with topics ranging from anchor chains (S. Amdt. 3813) to environmental infrastructure (S. Amdt. 3820), are scheduled to be voted on by tomorrow afternoon. If time permits, senators may start debating the Commerce-State-Justice appropriations bill later this week before starting a week-long recess. That debate could include a floor amendment containing the Senate’s response to President Obama’s $1.9 billion emergency funding request to invest in vaccine research and public health programs designed to contain the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Off the floor, a draft of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is expected to be released today ahead of a markup by the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. The annual legislation would authorize an additional $18 billion for Pentagon spending from a separate war funds account, which Democrats and the White House claim would violate caps instituted by the two-year spending agreement struck last November. Finally, the House Natural Resources Committee may schedule a markup of legislation (H.R. 4900) setting up a financial control board to restructure Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt. House leadership has been trying to marshal support for the bill, but it is unlikely that lawmakers will pass any legislation before May 1, when the island territory is due to make a $422 million bond payment that Puerto Rican officials have warned cannot be paid with existing resources.   

‘This Week on the Hill’ includes updates provided by the House and Senate majority leaders, as well information derived from publications including Bloomberg Government, The Hill, Politico, Roll Call, The New York Times, and Morning Consult.