Tuberville Continues Push to Protect Retirement Savers’ Financial Freedom

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) pushed back against the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) recent guidance that bans 401(k) investments in cryptocurrency. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Tuberville spoke about the Financial Freedom Act, his new bill that would prohibit the DOL from issuing guidance limiting the range or type of investments 401(k) savers can select.

Excerpts from the Senator’s speech can be found below, and his complete remarks can be viewed here

“By the time the average American worker retires, they will have worked over 16,000 days. Put another way, by the time an individual reaches the average retirement age in the United States, they will have clocked approximately 133,000 hours. Point being, Americans work hard to retire comfortably. And to help them reach their retirement goals, many employers offer retirement savings and investment plans, commonly known as the 401(k). In fact, 91 million Americans currently invest in the 401(k).”

“If someone in Lamar County, Alabama is getting up at the crack of dawn – clocking 14 hours at work – knows their retirement goals and personal circumstances very well, who better to decide how to invest the money they are making? Who better to decide but them?  But – as we have seen time and time again – common sense and individual freedoms are the enemy of the Biden administration.”

“The administration has their eyes set on Americans’ financial freedom, yet again. This time, the Department of Labor is specifically targeting workers’ ability to invest their 401(k) savings in assets as they see fit. Recent regulatory guidance released by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration attempts to bar 401(k) accounts [from investing] in cryptocurrency, singling out this specific investment type. The guidance threatens to investigate plans that allow participants to select investments in cryptocurrency, including plans where retirement savers use brokerage windows to self-select investments in cryptocurrency.”

“The Department of Labor has long permitted employers to offer brokerage windows as an option to employees who prefer to personally invest their own money and manage their own money within these windows. The agency’s new guidance ends this tradition of economic empowerment in favor of big-brother government control.”

“The Employee Benefits Security Administration goes a step further by seeking to place a massive new regulatory burden on 401(k)s and requiring them to assess the suitability of investments accessed using a brokerage window. This would undermine the ability of retirement savers to invest as they see fit.”

“The Biden administration’s Department of Labor’s guidance singles out this cryptocurrency for some reason– but it’s clear retirement savers want to have that option to invest their own money. Fidelity… is the largest 401(k) provider in the country, recently announced that it will make bitcoin available on its platform…Sadly, DOL has already criticized these plans to empower investors.”

“Americans should be able to invest their retirement savings as they choose. That’s why I introduced the Financial Freedom Act. My bill would prohibit the Department of Labor from issuing any regulation or guidance limiting the type of investments that self-directed 401(k) account investors can choose through a brokerage window. It would also push back on the Biden administration’s plan to punish asset managers who authorize individual retirement savers to self-direct their investment choices using a brokerage window. The Financial Freedom Act empowers the American retirement saver and preserves the precedent of investment freedom.”

“For decades, 401(k) participants in plans with brokerage windows have been able to buy and sell investments of their choice – that freedom to choose is the entire purpose of the brokerage window. The Department of Labor should not be able to limit the range or type of investments [retirement] savers can select. The choice of what you invest your retirement savings in should be yours – not the government’s. The government-knows-best approach being pushed by the current administration runs counter to the values that made our country the most prosperous nation in history. I urge my colleagues to support financial choice and freedom – to uphold our tradition of economic empowerment.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.