Rolling Back More Harmful Regulations

February 16, 2017
Press Release

Congressman Doug Lamborn issued the following statement after the passage of House Joint Resolutions 42, 66, and 67:

"The House is utilizing the powers of the Congressional Review Act to protect the American people from the heavy burden of harmful regulations. Joint Resolutions 66 and 67 protect the hard-earned retirement accounts of certain state and municipal employees from mismanagement. Joint Resolution 42 makes sure that important benefits are not being handed out to drug abusers. These votes will improve the quality of life for hard-working Americans all across this country, and I encourage the Senate to move swiftly to send these bills to President Trump's desk."

- Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

More Background Information (Courtesy of the Majority Leader)

State and Local Retirement Plans Rules

Summary

The House will use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the state and local retirement plans rules, which allow for government-run auto-IRAs managed by states and certain municipalities to be exempt from longstanding accountability measures contained in the federal ERISA law to protect Americans' money. People should have access to safe and reliable retirement savings programs, and states will still be allowed to run auto-IRA funds after these rules are repealed, but these rules have many negative consequences because it doesn't hold state-run programs to the same rules that are applied to the private sector.

Workers wouldn't have the same protections in these retirement accounts as they do in private accounts, people would have less control over their savings, and small businesses would be discouraged from continuing their 401(k) plans and encouraged to push their employees onto the state-run, second-tier accounts where they are legally barred from providing employer contributions.

Not to mention, states have shown themselves to be very bad managers of people's retirement savings, which as much a danger to American workers as it is to state budgets.

The Effect

Some states are, admittedly, rather terrible money managers, and trusting those states to manage even more people's retirement accounts could hurt those workers and put their hard-earned retirement savings at risks. California, for example, has "managed" its public pension system to a $281.5 billion hole. Illinois's $130 billion pension debt amounts to $4,000 per person in the state. Across the United States, state pensions are underfunded by $5 trillion, according to some estimates.

Who It Hurts

Though these new retirement funds would be separate from the currently underfunded state pension systems, it's not hard to imagine that these state-run retirement accounts will also underperform and that retirement savers or taxpayers will need to fill the gaps.

Instead, there are many other solutions to expand access to retirement plans and encourage savings. One important solution is to allow multiple small businesses to join together to form a single plan for employees. These Multiple Employer Plans, which would expand access to retirement accounts, have bipartisan support and even passed the Senate Finance Committee last year unanimously.

Unemployment Insurance Drug Testing Rule

Summary

The House will use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the unemployment insurance drug testing rule, which severely restricts the states' ability to limit drug abusers from receiving benefits payments. Federal law requires that applicants for unemployment insurance be able and available for employment. It also allows--but does not require--states to drug test applicants for unemployment insurance. People who are abusing drugs may fail job-related drug tests, meaning they are not truly available for employment. And when drug addicts continue to abuse drugs and fail to seek help to end their addiction, states should have the option of disallowing them for unemployment benefits and ending public support for their self-destructive habits.

This is a moral, economic, and constitutional issue. Allowing states to determine how best to administer the unemployment insurance program not only allows for problems to be solved at the most local level, as common sense and our Constitution call for, but it could also shore up struggling social insurance programs and help people overcome drug abuse.

The Effect

Giving states flexibility by overturning this rule has immediate economic benefits. After implementing drug testing, Utah saved more than $350,000 in the first year alone as drug users were barred from receive benefit payments from the taxpayers.

Previous studies have found that drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually, which means reducing drug use among employees and those looking for a job should be a priority of any employment program.

Who It Hurts

Limiting benefits for drug users helps the drug user the most. While states and welfare programs can't make people's decisions for them, giving unemployment insurance only to those who stay clean provides a great incentive for people to stop using drugs.

Not only that, but most employers require drug tests for worker anyway. More than half of employers drug test all candidate. Those on unemployment insurance who must, by law, be available for work must be verifiably drug free to get many jobs across the country.