Jacob K. Javits
Republican senator from New York
Although many people played important roles in writing and gaining passage of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, Jacob Javits surely is the father of ERISA.
Mr. Javits, chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, introduced the first pension bill in 1966 and was ERISA's principal author. That comprehensive pension legislation was signed into law on Sept. 4, 1974, by then-President Gerald R. Ford. The creation of ERISA led to the creation of an entire industry.
In an address at the Briefing Conference on Pension and Employee Benefits two weeks after President Ford signed the legislation, Mr. Javits said he saw the new law as "an overall effort to strike a balance between the clearly demonstrated needs of workers for greater protection and the desirability of avoiding the homogenization of pension plans into a federally dictated structure that would discourage voluntary initiatives for further expansion and improvement" (Washington University Law Quarterly, Spring, 1998).
Mark J. Ugoretz, executive director of the ERISA Industry Committee, said, "Anyone concerned with employee benefits owes Javits an enormous debt for creating a foundation for the most successful private benefit system in the world."
Mr. Javits died March 7, 1986. He was 81 years old.