Biden Labor Pick Nomination Hearing Slated for Thursday

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Marty Walsh, President Biden’s pick to serve as Labor Secretary, on February 4 at 10:00 AM. Walsh, the current Mayor of Boston, has a long history with organized labor, and his nomination was backed by numerous labor leaders, including Richard Trumka, the president of AFL-CIO. If confirmed, IRI anticipates Walsh would initially focus the DOL’s attention on addressing the employment and healthcare issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic. IRI submitted a letter to the members of the Senate HELP Committee highlighting crucial areas of retirement security policy and requesting the members ask Walsh about his views, thoughts, and plans to address the challenges many Americans are facing as they seek to achieve a secure retirement. IRI will monitor the hearing and provide updates as needed following the hearing.

The hearing can be viewed here.

Any questions should be referred to Paul Richman or Jason Berkowitz.



Senator Burr to Become Top Republican on Senate HELP Committee

IRI anticipates that Senate Richard Burr (R-NC) will be named as the Republican leader of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions as the Senate finalizes its committee structures. Burr has served on both the Senate HELP and the Senate Committee on Finance and is familiar with the retirement security challenges many Americans are facing. The Republican leadership spot was made vacant with the retirement of Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who reportedly preferred Burr to serve as his replacement. It is expected that Burr will continue to support many of the same priorities as his predecessor.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.


House Labor & Education Republicans Announce New Members

Last week, House Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced the new Republican committee members for the 117th Congress. In a statement, Representative Foxx said: The Education and Labor Committee plays a foundational role in Congress, covering issues that impact Americans at all stages of life – from child care all the way through retirement. The Republican members joining the Committee in the 117th Congress are a strong addition to our team and will help advance forward-looking policies that give students, job creators, and workers opportunities to succeed.”

The Republican members joining the committee are:

  • Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA)
  • Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT)
  • Rep. Bob Good (R-VA)
  • Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI)
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)
  • Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)
  • Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL)
  • Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN)
  • Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI)
  • Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC)
  • Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA)

In addition to the freshman selected to serve on the Committee, Foxx announced that Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) is returning to the committee following a leave. IRI will continue to provide updates as Congressional committees are announced.

Any questions should be referred to John Jennings.  



IRI Comments on NAIC Working Group’s Draft FAQ

IRI submitted a follow-up letter to the NAIC Annuity Suitability Working Group on behalf of a joint trades coalition detailing several issues related to the Working Group’s Standard of Conduct draft FAQs. The draft FAQs should be revised to clearly state that insurers and producers relying on the comparable standards safe harbor need not separately comply with the specific requirements in the model regulation as long as they satisfy all the conditions in the safe harbor provision. Second, the letter recommends revisions to the discussion of the model’s producer training requirements to provide clarity on a number of challenges industry has encountered in early-adopting states. Finally, IRI provides a modified version of past recommendations for changes to the explanation of the model’s conflicts of interest obligation in the draft FAQs. Industry would like the Working Group to finalize the FAQs to facilitate consistent adoption and implementation of the model across the states.

Any questions should be referred to Liz Pujolas.