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Insurance companies, groups urge quick Senate action on House-passed retirement bill

Insurance companies, groups urge quick Senate action on House-passed retirement bill
© Greg Nash

About 90 executives of insurance companies and trade associations are urging Senate leaders to take "quick action" to pass a bipartisan retirement savings bill that the House passed earlier this year.

"This important piece of legislation helps to ensure millions of Americans’ financial security," the groups wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.).

Groups that signed the letter include the American Council of Life Insurers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Prudential Financial, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.

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The House in May passed by a vote of 417-3 a bipartisan bill, known as the SECURE Act, that includes a host of provisions aimed at making it easier for people to save for retirement.

The legislation would make it easier for small businesses to join together to offer retirement plans and require employers that offer 401(k) plans to make certain part-time workers eligible for them. It also would undo a provision in Republicans' 2017 tax-cut law that had the unintended consequence of increasing taxes on the survivor benefits received by the children of deceased military members.

While the SECURE Act passed with overwhelming support in the House and similar bipartisan legislation has been offered in the Senate, the measure has yet to receive a vote in the upper chamber. The Senate has, however, passed stand-alone legislation to undo the tax increases on military survivor benefits received by children.

The insurance companies and trade groups urged McConnell and Schumer to take "quick action" on the SECURE Act and make the bill a "top legislative priority."

"While we wait for passage of the SECURE Act, low and middle-income Americans struggle to save for
retirement and military survivors face significant tax repercussions," the groups wrote.

In recent weeks, a group of GOP senators and a bipartisan group of House members has also pushed for quick Senate action on the House-passed bill. 

The timing of any Senate vote on the measure is unclear, however. Several GOP senators have objected to the bill passing by unanimous consent for various reasons, so the measure would likely need to get floor time for a vote.