Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced Wednesday that the Office of Management and Budget put out a request for information on the fiduciary rule.
The OMB’s action is widely seen as “the first step in deciding the fate of the rule,” which goes into partial effect this Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Acosta made the comments at a congressional hearing on President Trump’s budget proposal.
“That is the first step,” Acosta told members. “We need that information and data in order to decide how to proceed.”
“We looked very carefully at whether we could postpone it,” Acosta admitted “When a rule is adopted, the executive branch cannot just postpone implementation of that rule: You need a new rule to change the old rule.”
“No one in government should be able to snap their fingers and undo laws,” he added. “That’s not how democracy works.”
In late May, Acosta wrote that there is no legal basis for delaying the fiduciary rule’s implementation date of June 9. However, on the same day the Department of Labor said it will not actually enforce the fiduciary rule until January 1, 2018, as long as fiduciaries “are acting in good faith.”
The latter announcement was billed as “relief” and came in the form of a Field Assistance Bulletin, detailing a grace period of sorts to allow for additional comments and for firms to continue to adjust.
“…during the phased implementation period ending on January 1, 2018, the Department will not pursue claims against fiduciaries who are working diligently and in good faith to comply with the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions, or treat those fiduciaries as being in violation of the fiduciary duty rule and exemptions,” according to the bulletin.