Senators offer bipartisan retirement savings bill

Senators offer bipartisan retirement savings bill
© Greg Nash

Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Ohio) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength Senate Democrats queasy over Sanders as nominee Schumer: Trump address 'demagogic, undignified, highly partisan' MORE (D-Md.) on Tuesday rolled out a bipartisan bill aimed at reforming the retirement system as lawmakers eye sweeping changes to the plans.

The bill from Portman and Cardin, both members of the Senate Finance Committee, includes a number of provisions in four areas: allowing people who haven't saved enough money to set more money aside for their retirement, making it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans, expanding access to retirement plans for low-income people and providing more flexibility for retirees.

"Ensuring that families and workers can retire with dignity and stability is an ongoing, and strongly bipartisan, effort," Cardin said in a statement. "There have been many recent efforts acknowledging this need, yet more work needs to be done to make sure families have the necessary tools to be successful in their retirement.”

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One of the measure's provisions would allow companies to make matching contributions to their employees' retirement plans if the employees are repaying student loans. That topic was also the subject of legislation that Cardin, Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Graham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone MORE (D-Ore.) and other Democrats on the panel offered Monday.

Lawmakers have long had an interest in taking steps to strengthen the retirement system. Portman and Cardin also introduced a version of their bill last year. When they served in the House, the two worked together on retirement provisions that were enacted in 2001.

Retirement savings is an issue that has received increased attention in Congress in recent weeks, with lawmakers hoping it can be an area in which they can push through legislation despite a divided government.

"Since our last comprehensive package became law in 2001, we’ve seen more Americans participate in 401(k)s and IRAs to save for their retirement but our savings rate still remains too low and there are far too many Americans with no retirement account at all,” Portman said.

The Finance Committee held a hearing on Tuesday about the retirement system, and the House Budget Committee is holding a hearing on the issue on Wednesday.

Wyden and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case MORE (R-Iowa) introduced their own bipartisan retirement package last month. The House Ways and Means Committee has approved legislation that is similar to Wyden and Grassley's bill, and that bill may get a vote on the House floor in the near future.

Both Grassley and Wyden said at Tuesday's hearing that they hope their package can get enacted, praising other lawmakers for proposing ideas to help boost retirement savings.