Today, the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously voted to approve the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement, or SECURE Act. This promising piece of bipartisan legislation addresses some of the most critical challenges facing the US retirement system, including coverage, portability, and lifetime income. A similar piece of legislation – the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2019 (RESA) – was introduced in the Senate Finance Committee this week. Congressional leadership comes at the same time as the Department of Labor is moving toward the release of a proposed rule that makes it easier for small businesses to offer retirement savings plans to their workers through Association Retirement Plans. The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program’s Executive Director Ida Rademacher released the following statement in response to this week’s news:
“I am encouraged by the growing chorus of our nation’s political leaders who are prioritizing bipartisan collaboration and action to expand opportunities for Americans to save for retirement through the workplace. America’s workforce is grappling with a changing labor market, creating a growing population of workers who lack access to the tools needed to secure a healthy retirement. The coverage gap is the most fundamental challenge facing our current retirement system, leaving roughly 55 million Americans without access to the type of tax-advantaged, payroll-facilitated savings plans that are proven to increase retirement security. Employer-based plans are particularly rare for employees of small businesses and contingent workers, both of whom would have better options because of the legislation.
In the House, we commend Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, Rep. Ron Kind, Ranking Member Kevin Brady, and Rep. Mike Kelly for their leadership across the aisle, and their commitment to building a more robust and inclusive savings system for the nation. In the Senate, we are equally encouraged by the priority status that retirement policy is receiving from Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Ron Wyden. We believe these improvements to the current U.S. retirement system are a critical step toward ensuring that more Americans have the opportunity to retire with financial security and economic dignity.”
For more information on strategies to close the retirement coverage gap and make retirement savings more portable, we encourage you to read Portable Non-Employer Retirement Benefits: An Approach to Expanding Coverage for a 21st Century Workforce, a report Aspen FSP published in February. Our blog series on expanding small business retirement benefits also offers additional context.
For more information on the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program visit AspenFSP.org.