The Senate is working to quickly pass a retirement security package that received overwhelming approval in the House.
The Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, referred to as the SECURE Act, passed 417-3 in the House on May 23. Soon after that vote, the bill was "hotlined" in the Senate to move on it via unanimous consent.
If no senator were to object, the bill would simply pass as is. However, sources said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and possibly others, have placed a hold on the bill, objecting to the removal in the House version of provisions that would have allowed 529 plans to be used for home schooling costs and supplies for K-12 students.
Mr. Cruz's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Senate leaders are still trying to pass the bill via unanimous consent, sources said.
Melissa Kahn, managing director of retirement policy for State Street Global Advisors' defined contribution team, characterized the situation as "very political." But still, the 417-3 House vote shows this is an issue for which there's broad bipartisan support, she added.
Ms. Kahn is hopeful the situation will be resolved soon so the Senate does not have to pass its own bill and reconcile any differences with the House in conference.
"If they can't get those holds resolved in the next two weeks, I think they will have to go to some sort of conference," Ms. Kahn said.
The SECURE Act includes provisions that make it easier for smaller employers to join open multiple-employer plans, eases non-discrimination rules for frozen defined benefit plans and adds a safe harbor for selecting lifetime income providers in defined contribution plans. It also increases the automatic-enrollment safe harbor cap to 15% from 10%.
The Retirement Enhancement Savings Act, was introduced earlier this year in the Senate and features many of the SECURE Act's core provisions.