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: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid Top Democrat demands answers on election equipment vulnerabilities Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform 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 CantwellFAA nominee advances to full Senate vote Women lawmakers to play in Congressional Baseball Game following Title IX anniversary Hillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCan new US Strategy on Women, Peace & Security give women a real seat at the table? Ask Afghan women Maryland lawmakers slam 'despicable' Trump remark about journalists on newsroom shooting anniversary Democrats leery of Sanders plan to cancel student loan debt MORE (Md.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (R.I.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei 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 GrassleyThe peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Advocates frustrated over pace of drug price reform Trump drug pricing setbacks put pressure on Congress 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 - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales 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.