Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez said Tuesday comments on the proposed fiduciary rule for retirement plan advisors since it was proposed nine weeks ago are already shaping DOL thinking on how it should be modified to make it simpler and less burdensome.

He did not say what those changes are likely to be.

In his seemingly unending road show for the proposal, Perez told an audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., that the rule is essential for strengthening and growing the middle class.

Speaking on another development that Perez said holds promise for increasing retirement security, he praised California and Illinois for enacting auto-enrollment savings programs for small employers.

“What these (and other) states have told us is they want new and creative ways to help their residents save. It is one of the most important things happening in retirement,” said the Labor Secretary.

On another retirement development, Perez said DOL is looking for ways to close the savings gap between minorities and whites.

He noted at the same income blacks and Latinos are saving roughly 72 cents for each dollar their white peers are.

Perez said reducing that disparity is becoming more important as the nation becomes increasingly racially diverse.