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Bill calling for retirement commission to guide Congress reintroduced

A bipartisan bill was reintroduced Tuesday that would create a federal commission to give Congress suggestions on how to improve private retirement benefits programs.

Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., initially introduced the Federal Retirement Commission Act in April 2018. The bill is based on a 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office that recommended establishing an independent panel of experts to assess the current system and make recommendations. The bill's co-authors note that it has been nearly 40 years since a federal commission conducted a similar survey.

"With many individuals reaching retirement with little to no savings of their own, we must take a serious look at our current retirement programs and make the changes necessary to help secure the futures of so many hardworking Americans," Mr. Young said in a statement.

Both chambers of Congress have shown interest in retirement security legislation in recent months. The House is expected to pass the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, referred to as the SECURE Act, this month, while the Senate is considering the Retirement Enhancement Savings Act that features many of same core provisions.

The Senate Finance Committee hosted a hearing on the subject Tuesday and Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is one of RESA's co-sponsors, said passing the bill is a top priority.

Under the legislation reintroduced this week, the commission would be made up of the secretaries of Treasury, Labor, Commerce, two presidential appointees, six Senate appointees and six House appointees.

Mr. Booker said in a statement that Congress "must work to address the shortcomings that have resulted from the shift from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution plans like 401(k)s. This bill will advance the conversation on individual retirement savings at a time when far too many have been left without the retirement they've planned for."