Employee Benefits News examines legal developments that impact the employee benefits and executive compensation employers provide, including federal and state legislation, rules from federal...
Now that Alexander Acosta is in place as the Secretary of Labor, attention shifts to who will lead DOL’s subagencies like the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
There is some sense of urgency in getting an EBSA head in place, given that President Donald Trump asked the DOL to review the Obama-era fiduciary rule, which was drafted by EBSA, the subagency tasked with regulating employee benefits. The rule, portions of which are set to become applicable on June 9, aims to reduce the allegedly conflicted investment advice given to retirement savers.
Even if Trump nominates an EBSA head in the coming days, confirmation by the Senate may still take months. It’s taken an average of four months for EBSA secretaries to receive Senate confirmation during the past several administrations, according to Bloomberg BNA research.
“If it’s someone who’s going to garner opposition, there’s going to be a real push to at least do some real background work on that person’s qualifications,” Rajesh D. Nayak, director of research with the National Employment Law Project, told Bloomberg BNA. NELP is a non-profit research and policy organization that advocates for employment and labor rights. Nayak served as deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez.
The confirmation process can also hinge on what else is taking up the Senate’s time, Mark B. Harkins, senior fellow with the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, told Bloomberg BNA. The GAI provides education about Congressional process, organization and practices.
Health care will take up some of the Senate’s time, as well as other nominations that need to be confirmed, Harkins said. The looming presence of the fiduciary rule may mean that the EBSA nomination is fast-tracked, he said.
Trump also has an advantage that other presidents haven’t had in their early days in office: He can get a nominee through the Senate with fewer than 60 votes, Harkins said.
It took Ann L. Combs, who served as assistant secretary under President George W. Bush, less than a month to be confirmed by the Senate. On the flip side, it took Leslie B. Kramerich, nominated by President Bill Clinton, five months to be confirmed.
Three of the secretaries, Richard McGahey, Kramerich and Bradford P. Campbell, were all acting secretaries for EBSA before being nominated and confirmed.
McGahey, who served in the post from February-December 1999, appears to be an outlier in the time it took to get confirmed. McGahey was appointed to the position in February 1999 by Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, but wasn’t formally nominated by Bill Clinton until March. Because a hold had been placed on pending Labor Department nominees that year by Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.), McGahey wasn’t confirmed until November. He announced in December that that he was leaving for a job in the private sector.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kristen Ricaurte Knebel in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)