February 05, 2021

Ignites Talks to Brad Campbell About President Biden’s Labor Secretary Nominee, the Impact of a Recent EBSA Appointment and Priority Retirement Issues

Partner Brad Campbell spoke to Ignites about the February 4 confirmation hearing on President Joe Biden’s nomination of Marty Walsh for Labor Secretary, as well as the appointment of Ali Khawar as principal deputy assistant secretary in the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) on January 20, and retirement issues that will be a priority for the EBSA.

In the article “Biden Administration: Walsh Poised for Quick Confirmation as Labor Secretary,” Ignites described how Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voiced support for Walsh. The committee chairwoman, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said during the confirmation hearing that she plans to schedule a committee vote on Walsh’s nomination as quickly as possible.

According to the publication, there was little discussion of retirement policy during the hearing, but that’s no indication of the attention those issues will likely receive with Walsh at the agency’s helm. Campbell said that the Biden administration has already taken steps at the agency to begin work on such issues.

The appointment of longtime Department of Labor (DOL) staffer Khawar ensures “that they have knowledgeable political appointees at the agency from the beginning even as the confirmation continues so that they’re able to have a policy voice and not have to wait until everything works its way through the Senate,” Campbell said.

The head of the EBSA must also be confirmed by the Senate, noted Campbell, who served in that position during former president George W. Bush’s administration. He said the lack of discussion around retirement issues during the hearing is not surprising, given “the seriousness of the pandemic and the workforce issues it presents.”

But retirement issues will definitely be priorities for the EBSA, Campbell added. “For example, the pecuniary factors rule will certainly be a priority, as it is the only regulation at DOL singled out by the president’s executive order on reviewing environment rules,” he said.

The full article is available for Ignites subscribers.

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