If, as some think, the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives flips to the Democrats in the mid-term elections, retirement policy will be a top priority for the new chairman of the Ways & Means Committee.
Rep. Richie Neal (D-MA), the ranking Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, and the man in line to become chairman of that powerful committee, has cited three priorities on which he even thinks he might align with President Trump, and two of them — shoring up retirement savings and protecting multi-employer pension plans — deal with retirement, according to a report in The Hill. (The other is infrastructure.)
Neal has long been focused on retirement issues. In the last year he has introduced two significant pieces of retirement legislation: the Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act (RPSEA) and the Automatic Retirement Plan Act (ARPA). The RPSEA aims to modify the current automatic enrollment safe harbor and establish a new automatic safe harbor, which includes changes to minimum default contributions, matching contributions and a special tax credit.
The ARPA, arguably, is more provocative. It would require employers to maintain a 401(k) or 403(b) plan that covers all eligible employees, exempting small employers, governments, churches and businesses not in existence for three years. The bill also allows for multiple employer plans (MEPs) and increases the start-up credit for small employers.
They say that elections matter — and when it comes to retirement, this one just might matter more than most.