U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bill in the Senate Finance Committee containing several reforms to reinforce Americans’ retirement plans on Monday. The Retirement Security & Savings Act (S. 1431) introduced by the two senators addresses four ongoing issues with retirement plans.
Portman has made the issue of retirement a mainstay of his office tenure. As The Ohio Star reported last month, he worked with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to give Ohioans a say in the pension plans set up by their employers.
“As a matter of basic fairness, they deserve a role in determining how to bring these pensions to solvency, and this bill ensures they have a voice in this process,” said Portman.
Now Portman is working with Cardin to bring these same reforms to the national stage.
“Half of the baby-boomers have no retirement nest egg at all,” Portman said on Fox Business yesterday.
In a press release from Cardin’s office, he had this to say on the retirement bill:
“Ensuring that families and workers can retire with dignity and stability is an ongoing, and strongly bipartisan, effort. 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.
The bill has four main areas it wants to reform. First, it would set a parameter to allow citizens with little savings to set aside more for their retirement. Annual 401(k) contributions are capped at a combined $19,000 between the individual and their employer. This bill would raise the contribution limit depending on the age of the individual and the existing amount already set aside.
The second main focus is to help small businesses offer retirement plans for their employers. Portman cited a study from the National Compensation Survey, which showed that “while 68 percent of private sector workers have access to an employer-sponsored plan, that number drops to 49 percent for individuals working for small businesses and 39 percent for part-time workers.”
The third focus is to expand retirement savings access plans for low-income Americans without coverage, and the fourth is to provide “certainty and flexibility during Americans’ retirement years.”
“This bill is an important new chapter in my bipartisan work with Senator Cardin to strengthen the private sector retirement system,” Portman said. “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.”
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Mitch Shirley is a reporter for The Ohio Star and Battleground State News. Emails tips to [email protected]