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 WydenInterior gains new watchdog On The Money: NY prosecutors subpoena eight years of Trump tax returns | Senators struggle to get spending bills off ground as shutdown looms | Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum | Trump faces dwindling leverage with China Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum 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 CantwellWill Congress act to stop robocalls? Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Hillicon Valley: Trump reportedly weighing executive action on alleged tech bias | WH to convene summit on online extremism | Federal agencies banned from buying Huawei equipment | Lawmakers jump start privacy talks MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance GOP lawmaker: 'Dangerous' abuse of Interpol by Russia, China, Venezuela Senators pressure Trump to help end humanitarian crisis in Kashmir MORE (Md.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate GOP pledges to oppose any efforts to 'pack' Supreme Court Senate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (R.I.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system Hillicon Valley: Uber vows to defy California labor bill | Facebook, Google, Twitter to testify on mass shootings | Facebook's Libra to pursue Swiss payments license 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 GrassleyWe've lost sight of the real scandal Grassley: Kavanaugh classmate didn't contact Senate panel State Dept sent explosive-detection dogs to Jordan despite evidence of mistreatment: report 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 HoyerDemocrats headed for a subpoena showdown with White House Election security funds caught in crosshairs of spending debate New storm rises over Kavanaugh 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.