Harkin wins public service award for 'bold' universal pension proposal

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Sen. Tom Harkin

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, received the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans' Public Service Award on Tuesday.

IFEBP President and board Chairman George Laufenberg, administrative manager for the $2 billion New Jersey Carpenters Funds, Edison, praised Mr. Harkin's universal pension coverage idea as “a bold proposal in an environment that is in desperate need of viable solutions.”

Mr. Harkin's USA Retirement Funds proposal would create a new type of universal private retirement account with automatic payroll deductions and professional money management.

Mr. Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, told IFEBP attendees gathered in Washington for a legislative conference that before he retires from the Senate in 20 months, “I'd like to get something like this done. It seems to me that the time is right.”