House votes to boost retirement savings

The House on Thursday passed a bipartisan bill aimed at boosting retirement savings that also fixes an issue with the GOP tax law.

The bill, known as the SECURE Act, passed by a vote of 417-3. The three lawmakers who voted against the bill were GOP Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash: GOP acts like 'we're all stupid' over impeachment hearings Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon Hoyer: We are going to move as fast 'as the facts and truth dictate' on open hearings MORE (Mich.), Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieGOP lawmaker says newly-released Butina was jailed due to 'Russophobia' O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Scalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms MORE (Ky.) and Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoySenate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Senate scraps plan to force second stopgap vote ahead of shutdown On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (Texas).

The bill includes a number of provisions designed to encourage businesses to offer retirement plans and to make it easier for people to save for their retirements.

These include provisions that would make it easier for small businesses to join together to offer retirement plans, treat graduate students’ stipends as compensation for purposes concerning individual retirement accounts (IRA), allow long-term and part-time workers to participate in companies’ 401(k) plans, and eliminate the age maximum for contributing to IRAs.


“This is the most substantive promotion of retirement savings in the last 15 years,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOn The Money: Trump signs short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown | Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 | California high court strikes down law targeting Trump tax returns Democrats press Trump officials over drop in ObamaCare signups amid website problems Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE (D-Mass.).

The bill also would reverse changes that the GOP tax law made to a tax on children’s unearned income known as the “kiddie tax.”

Republicans aimed in their 2017 law to simplify the kiddie tax, which was originally created in the 1986 tax law to prevent wealthy people from avoiding taxes. However, the changes unintentionally ended up raising taxes on certain income received by children, such as benefits received by the children of deceased military members and first responders.

“What this tax bill did to Gold Star families was wrong, but I’ve been heartened to see so many of my colleagues join me in a bipartisan effort to right this wrong,” said Rep. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaOvernight Health Care: Democratic group to only endorse AG candidates who back abortion rights | Protect Our Care launches seven-figure ad buy to boost vulnerable Dems | California sues Juul Group launches seven-figure ad buy boosting vulnerable Democrats on drug prices Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (D-Va.), who has been a leader in the efforts to reverse the tax increase.

When the Ways and Means Committee approved the retirement bill in April, the bill included provisions that would allow 529 education savings plans to be used for homeschooling expenses and certain nontuition expenses related to K-12 education. But those provisions were removed.

Neal said earlier this week that the two 529 provisions were removed because a considerable number of Democrats objected to them, while Republicans attributed to removal to the desires of “special interest” teachers unions.

Republicans were disappointed by the removal of the 529 provisions, but nearly every GOP lawmaker still voted for the bill.

“I am very encouraged by the underlying bill we have in front of us,” said Ways and Means Committee ranking member Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyLawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families How centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment On The Money: Senate passes first spending package as shutdown looms | Treasury moves to roll back Obama rules on offshore tax deals | Trade deal talks manage to weather Trump impeachment storm MORE (R-Texas). "It will greatly benefit our workers. It deserves strong support.”

There is bipartisan interest in both chambers of Congress in passing legislation to increase retirement savings.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Congressional authority in a time of Trump executive overreach Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongressional authority in a time of Trump executive overreach Democrats press Trump officials over drop in ObamaCare signups amid website problems Trump, senators push for drug price disclosures despite setbacks MORE (D-Ore.) have introduced a bill that has a number of similarities to the bill that passed the House, and Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTrump lunches with two of his biggest Senate GOP critics Budget process quick fixes: Fixing the wrong problem Why Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Ohio) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinOvernight Health Care: Democratic gains mark setback for Trump on Medicaid work requirements | Senate Dems give Warren 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder | Judge strikes Trump rule on health care 'conscience' rights Democrats give Warren's 'Medicare for All' plan the cold shoulder Former NAACP president to run for Cummings's House seat MORE (D-Md.) also recently introduced a package on retirement savings.

The Senate retirement bills don’t include the kiddie tax fix, but the Senate earlier this week passed a stand-alone bill to undo the tax increase on military survivor benefits received by children.

Updated at 11:54 a.m.