Top Finance Dem offers bill to help those repaying student loans save for retirement

Top Finance Dem offers bill to help those repaying student loans save for retirement
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats press Mnuchin to defend T coronavirus stimulus IG Hillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike Trump says election proposals in coronavirus stimulus bill would hurt Republican chances MORE (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Monday introduced a bill aimed at making it easier for those with student loan debt to save for retirement.

Under the bill, companies would be able to make matching contributions to the retirement plans of employees who are making student loan repayments.

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Currently, companies can only provide matching contributions to their employees’ 401(k) plans if the employees themselves are contributing to the plans. That means that employees who can’t afford to contribute to their retirement accounts because they are still paying off student loans have to go without the employer contribution.

Wyden is proposing a change so that recent college graduates with student loan debt don't have to miss receiving retirement contributions from their employers.

“Millions of college grads are buried under tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt that prevents them from building their future — buying a home, saving for retirement and starting a family,” Wyden said in a statement. “The sooner workers start to save for retirement the better, and paying down student loans shouldn’t stop them from building their nest egg. While a comprehensive response to the student loan debt crisis is needed, this policy change is an important piece of the puzzle.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellMcConnell sets Friday night deadline for bipartisan deal on stimulus Washington state lawmakers warn health workers running low on protective gear Carper staffer tests positive in Delaware MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocratic senator asks Pompeo to stop saying 'Wuhan virus' Small-business rescue package expected to swell to 0 billion or more McConnell sets Friday night deadline for bipartisan deal on stimulus MORE (Md.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocratic senators call on domestic airlines to issue cash refunds for travelers Overnight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights MORE (R.I.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDemocrats press Mnuchin to defend T coronavirus stimulus IG Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Democratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories MORE (Ohio), who all also serve on the Finance Committee.

The bill was introduced one day before the Finance Committee holds a hearing on “challenges in the retirement system.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress are interested in passing legislation this year to encourage retirement savings.

Wyden and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner MORE (R-Iowa) jointly introduced legislation in April that includes a host of other provisions aimed at making it easier for people to save for retirement. The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bipartisan bill last month, known as the SECURE Act, that has many similarities to Grassley and Wyden’s package.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House MORE (D-Md.) said last week that he is hopeful that the SECURE Act can pass the House before Memorial Day, but noted that lawmakers were still trying to work out disagreements related to a provision that would allow 529 college savings accounts to be used for homeschooling expenses. The provision relating to 529 plans is not in Grassley and Wyden’s package.