On May 16, 2013, The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) hosted a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill entitled “Improving Retirement Security: Expanding Coverage to All Americans.”
Lisa Mensah, the Executive Director of Aspen IFS, moderated the briefing, which featured keynote remarks by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), who have both spearheaded the push for policy reforms that would make it easier for American workers to achieve retirement security. At the event, Congressman Neal reintroduced a bill that would create automatic payroll deposit Individual Retirement Accounts, or auto IRA’s, for workers who do not have access to employer provided retirement plans. Congressman Neal remarked that “…pensions have changed dramatically in my lifetime … [W]e’ve moved away from the idea of the guaranteed pension on a date certain to the … notion that individuals are gonna be more in charge of what retirement is going to look like.” In a statement prior to the briefing, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Harkin added, “If people don’t have access to a pension or 401(k), they just aren’t going to save. By simply ensuring that everyone has access to a retirement plan, we can drastically increase the likelihood that they will have a secure retirement.”
Featured Speakers at the briefing included John Adler, Retirement Security Campaign Director at SEIU; Jamie Kalamarides, Chairman & CEO of Prudential Bank & Trust and Senior Vice President of Prudential Financial; Judy Miller, Director of Retirement Policy at ASPPA; Eric Rodriguez, Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy, & Legislation at National Council of La Raza; and Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President, Policy, Strategy, and International Affairs at AARP.