Bill Would Create Commission on Retirement Security

A measure before the U.S. Senate would create a new federal commission to recommend ways to improve Americans’ retirement security.

The Commission on Retirement Security Act of 2018 (S. 2753) would establish the Commission on Retirement Security to review private retirement benefit programs and report to Congress on how to improve private retirement security in the United States.

The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). Young said in a news release that the bill comes in the wake of a 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office which recommended that Congress consider establishing an independent commission to examine the U.S. retirement system and offer recommendations to clarify key policy goals for the system and improve how the nation promotes retirement security.

“It has been nearly 40 years since a federal commission has conducted a survey of this scope,” Young said. He was referring to the President’s Commission on Pension Policy, which President Jimmy Carter established by executive order in 1979 to conduct a two-year study of the U.S. pension system and the future of the nation’s retirement income policies.

Young and Booker’s bill calls for the creation of a commission whose members would be the Secretaries of Labor, Treasury and Commerce; two presidential appointees; six U.S. Senate appointees, and six U.S. House of Representatives appointees.

The commission would conduct a comprehensive reviews of:

  • S. private benefit programs, with a particular focus on moving from defined benefit to defined contribution models;
  • private retirement coverage, individual and household accounts balances, investment trends, costs and net returns, and retention and distribution during retirement;
  • societal trends, including wage growth, economic growth, unique small business challenges, serial employment, gig economy, health care costs, life expectancy and shrinking household size, that could lead future generations to be less financially secure in retirement compared to previous generations; and
  • other countries’ retirement programs.

The commission would be responsible for submitting to Congress recommendations on how to improve — or replace — existing private retirement programs; however, at least 75% of its members would have to vote in favor of any recommendations before they could be submitted to Congress.

S. 2753 is now before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

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