House to vote on bipartisan retirement bill in May

House to vote on bipartisan retirement bill in May
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment Trump urges Dem leaders to pass new NAFTA before infrastructure deal MORE (D-Md.) said Thursday that the House is expected to vote in the next few weeks on a bipartisan bill aimed at encouraging retirement savings, as lawmakers and industry groups are hopeful that legislation on the issue can get enacted this year.

Hoyer said in a letter to House Democrats that the chamber would vote on the retirement bill, known as the SECURE Act, during the May work period, after the House Ways and Means Committee approved it by voice vote earlier this month.

The House returns to Washington on Monday after a two-week recess, and is scheduled to be in session each week until Memorial Day.


The bill includes a variety of provisions designed to help small businesses offer retirement plans and assist individuals putting money aside for retirement. It includes provisions that would make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans, allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans offered by their employers, and repeal an age limit for contributing to Individual Retirement Accounts.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealDemocrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight IRS draft memo found that agency must provide tax returns to Congress: report Senate passes bill to undo tax increase on Gold Star military families MORE (D-Mass.) and ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyMicrosoft, other business leaders head to Capitol Hill in support of carbon tax House to vote on retirement bill next week House chairman issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns MORE (R-Texas) have both long had an interest in getting retirement legislation signed into law. Many provisions in the SECURE Act have been included in previously passed House measures.

Neal and Brady have said they hope this bill can be signed into law this year. The two lawmakers are also working on a second retirement bill that they hope gets a committee vote before the August recess.

There has also been bipartisan support for retirement legislation in the Senate, with Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report Nursing home care: A growing crisis for an aging America  Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenMomentum grows to create 'Do Not Track' registry Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday Senate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats MORE (D-Ore.) introducing a bill this month that is similar to the SECURE Act.

Retirement industry groups say they are supportive of the congressional efforts, and they think there is new momentum for legislation this year given the support from lawmakers.

Still, the House and Senate need to resolve some differences between their measures.

While the SECURE Act easily advanced out of the Ways and Means Committee, it hasn't been completely free from criticism. When the Ways and Means Committee marked up the bill, several Republican lawmakers criticized a provision that would provide pension funding relief for community newspapers.

The community newspaper provision isn't in the Senate bill.

The retirement measure is one of several pieces of legislation the House plans to take up in the next work period, along with measures focused on climate change, disaster relief, flood insurance and protecting LGBT people from discrimination, Hoyer said.