Cardin: It’s time to act on SECURE 2.0

Kicking off the July 26 NAPA DC Fly-In 2022 forum, one of the most influential pension policy lawmakers urged delegates to push for action on SECURE 2.0 legislation — now.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, outlined possible pathways for the SECURE 2.0 legislation to be enacted over the next few weeks, saying he would rather complete it now than later. Expect a lame-duck session of Congress later this year.

Why does he believe the bill should be implemented now? Because you never know what can happen in a lame duck session, he said. “If I had my preference, I would pass it sooner rather than later; I don’t know how people are going to feel after the midterm elections are over. It could affect attitudes,” Cardin noted. But either way, the message is clear: do it, he added. “We are ready to move. We are ready to act. We have to find a way,” Cardin said.

And for that to become a reality, the importance of doing so must be elevated, Cardin told delegates. “Your presence is critically important in emphasizing the importance of moving this bill forward before Congress adjourns this year so that we don’t lose the momentum that has been unprecedented in passing a major pension reform bill. Cardin spoke with delegates a day before they head to offices on Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders and staff to advocate for passage of SECURE Act 2.0, among other priorities. legislation of the American Retirement Association.

The path to follow

The good news, according to Cardin, is that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has already marked out legislation compatible with the version of the Senate Finance Committee. Moreover, the House of Representatives has already passed its version, allowing the Senate to move forward without having to worry about the so-called “blue slip” problems arising from the fact that all revenue-related legislation must come from the House. .

Cardin noted that Senate members worked closely with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) to develop legislation.

Addressing the legislative path to enactment, Cardin explained that it could pass as a separate bill in the Senate, but speaking time is “hard to come by” these days. The legislation could also come with a must-have appropriation bill or temporary standing resolution to fund the federal government that will be passed sometime before the start of the fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Congress could also include retirement legislation in a lame end of the year session that deals with various expiring tax provisions and other funding provisions that must be passed before Congress adjourns, as was the case with the SECURE law in 2019.

Main differences

Cardin noted that there were some differences between the various bills, but added that he did not believe there was anything “radical” that could not be resolved.

One of those key differences is that the Senate finance bill includes the ARA-backed Starter 401(k), while the House bill does not. Speaking at the Fly-In Forum on July 27, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), co-sponsor of the legislation in the Senate, touted the legislation’s strong potential to boost access to retirement savings.

Additionally, the House bill includes a requirement for new DC plans to automatically enroll participants, unlike the Senate money bill. However, the Senate HELP Committee’s RISE & SHINE Act includes a provision requiring that plans that offer an auto-enrollment arrangement automatically enroll participants who have opted out at least once every three years, unless they do so. a new choice to withdraw.

There are also differences in how the House and Senate bills would improve saver’s credit (increasingly referred to as the “saver’s game”). While the House would streamline the credit by creating a rate credit, the Senate finance bill would make the credit refundable, essentially turning it into a government matching contribution that must be deposited into the IRA or plan. taxpayer’s pension.

Another key difference is the approach taken with savings and emergency withdrawals between the two Senate bills. Although the House bill does not include an emergency savings component, the Senate HELP committee would establish pension-style emergency savings accounts, and the Senate finance committee would authorize a distribution of emergency per year up to $1,000. The taxpayer would have the option of repaying the distribution within three years and could not make another emergency distribution during that three-year period unless the amount is repaid.

Senator Portman honored

Cardin also paid tribute to his longtime colleague, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “We have worked together for a long time and I greatly respect his commitment to public service. Although we may disagree on some philosophical issues, we both have a personal relationship which I believe has been able to produce results. And I thank him for his public service,” Cardin said.

Portman is retiring at the end of this session and the two have worked together for more than 25 years on pension policy legislation. Portman (pictured center) was presented with the American Retirement Association’s Inaugural Retirement Visionary Award during the NAPA DC Fly-In Forum by ARA Director of Government Affairs Will Hansen (left) and former NAPA President Jeff Acheson (right).

The fact that Portman, along with Rep. Brady, are retiring at the end of the session could also add some momentum to efforts to enact the legislation.

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