Bipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate

Bipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced a package of bills designed to make it easier for Americans to save for retirement.

The four senators behind the legislation — Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocrats embracing socialism is dangerous for America Kavanaugh recommended against Clinton indictment in 1998: report Kavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report MORE (D-N.J.), Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonRubio slams Google over plans to unveil censored Chinese search engine Bipartisanship alive and well, protecting critical infrastructure Exclusive: Bannon blasts 'con artist' Kochs, 'lame duck' Ryan, 'diminished' Kelly MORE (R-Ark.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampProgressives fume as Dems meet with Brett Kavanaugh Woman throws stuffed lips at Doug Jones, says he 'can kiss my ass' if he backs Kavanaugh Overnight Energy: Trump Cabinet officials head west | Zinke says California fires are not 'a debate about climate change' | Perry tours North Dakota coal mine | EPA chief meets industry leaders in Iowa to discuss ethanol mandate MORE (D-N.D.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe scale of the Yemen crisis is unimaginable The Hill's Morning Report — Trump navigates challenges from all sides Tenn. Republicans to go on offense against Dem MORE (R-Ind.) — span the political spectrum, boosting the prospects for advancing the measures.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Our work on these bills shows a bipartisan commitment to improving economic security for workers and families, and I hope we can move them forward as they will make a difference for so many Americans who deserve to live with dignity both as workers and retirees," said Heitkamp.

One measure would pave the way for pooled employer plans, allowing smaller businesses to more easily offer retirement savings schemes for their workers.

Another bill would make more retirement savings automatic, requiring workers to opt out rather than opt in.

About one-third of private sector workers don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also found that smaller businesses are significantly less likely to offer defined retirement plans compared to larger companies.

"Americans work hard day after day with often little promise of economic security in the future," Young said.

The third bill would create “emergency savings accounts” that would serve as alternatives to people accessing their retirement savings early for emergencies, while the fourth measure would allow tax filers to automatically put any tax refunds into a savings account. Those two policies would help Americans who are chronically low on savings.

More than 40 percent of Americans say they would not be able to cover an emergency expense of $400 without borrowing money or selling something, according to a report by the Federal Reserve. Automatically stashing away some cash from every paycheck into an emergency savings fund could help those individuals.

“These commonsense proposals will greatly help people save for their future and retire with dignity,” former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who co-led a Bipartisan Policy Center commission on retirement security and personal savings that helped shape the Senate legislation.