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 BookerWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses Citizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Booker opens up about relationship with Rosario Dawson MORE (D-N.J.), Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSenate rejects border declaration in major rebuke of Trump Hillicon Valley: Doctors press tech to crack down on anti-vax content | Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outages | Spotify hits Apple with antitrust complaint | FCC rejects calls to delay 5G auction Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (R-Ark.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Lobbying World Lobbying World MORE (D-N.D.) and Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungOvernight Defense: Senate breaks with Trump on Yemen war | Shanahan hit with ethics complaint over Boeing ties | Pentagon rolls out order to implement transgender ban | Dem chair throws cold water on Space Force budget Senate breaks with Trump on Saudi-led war in Yemen GOP senators introduce bill to rein in president's emergency powers MORE (R-Ind.) — span the political spectrum, boosting the prospects for advancing the measures.

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"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.