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 WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden vows push to force release of Khashoggi assessment Wyden calls on NSA to examine White House cybersecurity following Bezos hack 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 CantwellSenators fret over lack of manpower to build 5G Five tech stories to watch in 2020 Hillicon Valley: House panel unveils draft of privacy bill | Senate committee approves bill to sanction Russia | Dems ask HUD to review use of facial recognition | Uber settles sexual harassment charges for .4M MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum New Parnas evidence escalates impeachment witnesses fight Pressure building on Pelosi over articles of impeachment MORE (Md.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency from chopping block Citizens United decision weathers 10 years of controversy Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change MORE (R.I.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Senate Democrat: 'Fine' to hear from Hunter Biden 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 GrassleyGraham vows Biden, Ukraine probe after impeachment trial Social security emerges as latest flash point in Biden-Sanders tussle Trump to sign USMCA next Wednesday 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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate 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.