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Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year

Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year
© Bonnie Cash

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households MORE (D-Mass.) said Thursday that Congress could pass legislation to help people save for retirement as soon as this year.

"I think retirement savings is going to be very, very important going forward," Neal said at a virtual event hosted by The Hill. He added that the next round of retirement legislation could be passed "in a lame-duck session or certainly very early next year."

Neal and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Momentum grows for bipartisan retirement bill in divided Congress MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, last month introduced bipartisan legislation with a host of provisions aimed at helping people save for retirement. The new bill builds on bipartisan retirement legislation that was enacted last year, and similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senator: No indication of widespread voting irregularities, window for Trump challenges is 'closing' Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Biden moves forward as GOP breaks with Trump rise MORE (R-Ohio) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry On The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year MORE (D-Md.).

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Congressional observers think it could be challenging for lawmakers to pass retirement legislation in the lame-duck session, given the need to pass a bill to prevent a government shutdown during that period. But lobbyists and other tax experts think a retirement bill could pass in 2021 even if there is a divided Congress.

Neal noted that the retirement bill enacted last year had overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. He highlighted a provision in his new bill with Brady that would raise the age for required minimum distributions from retirement plans from 72 to 75, as people are working and living longer. 

Neal also said he was planning to continue to push a separate proposal of his to create automatic payroll deduction Individual Retirement Accounts (auto IRAs). Republicans have been critical of this idea in the past, but President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide MORE has expressed support for it.

"I intend to use the next two years to further enhance retirement savings, making better use of automatic enrollment, and trying very hard to pass my auto IRA bill," Neal told The Hill's Steve Clemons.

The Hill's event was sponsored by AARP.