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EBSA, IRS Get Funding Boosts, But What About SECURE 2.0?


The $1.5 trillion budget bill passed by Congress this week includes budget boosts for the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the IRS—but bipartisan retirement legislation apparently will have to wait for another day.   

On March 9, the House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 260-171, the 2,700-page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R. 2471) to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2022. The Senate approved the measure March 10 by a 68-31 margin, clearing it for President Biden’s signature.

Retirement Legislation

While there was some speculation that Congress would add the SECURE Act 2.0 to the consolidated spending bill, that did not happen. A separate push to include a package of expired tax breaks also did not materialize either.   

According to a report in Roll Call, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) had been working with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and the Committee’s Ranking Republican Kevin Brady (R-TX), to move the bipartisan retirement security package as part of the broader spending bill. 

“There’s so many different tax provisions that people wanted that unless they got theirs, they didn’t want the others to get in,” Roll Call reported Cardin as saying, adding, “It’s difficult to get a tax section agreed to.” The report also noted that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he wanted more time for his panel to consider and weigh in on the retirement package.   

In addition to addressing Wyden’s priorities, that would also give the Finance Committee an opportunity to consider provisions contained in the Retirement Security and Savings Act (S. 1770) introduced by Portman and Cardin, who are both senior members of the Finance Committee. Portman plans to retire at the end of this Congress, so this likely will be the bipartisan duo’s final act teaming up on retirement security legislation. 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has also introduced various retirement-based bills that could be considered in the coming weeks. 

The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (H.R. 2954)—a.k.a. the SECURE Act 2.0—was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee in May 2021 by a unanimous, bipartisan voice vote, but it has not yet been considered by the full House of Representatives. 

Similarly, the RISE Act (Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act, H.R. 5891) was approved by the House Education and Labor Committee in November 2021 by a unanimous voice vote, but it also has not yet been considered by the full House. 

EBSA and IRS Budgets

Under the consolidated bill, the Department of Labor will receive a total budget of $14.4 billion for FY 2022, which runs until Sept. 30, up from a FY 2021 level of $12.5 billion. Even more relevant for the retirement industry is that EBSA will receive a nearly $5 million funding boost, raising its FY 2022 appropriation to $185.5 million, up from $181 million.  

The IRS will receive a boost of $675 million from FY 2021, bringing its FY 2022 budget total to $12.6 billion. The lion’s share ($5.4 billion) of the IRS budget will be allocated to enforcement. Operations support will receive $4.1 billion, while taxpayer services will receive $2.8 billion and business systems modernization will get $275 million.