Seven Republican senators wrote a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Tuesday urging the passage of a far-reaching retirement security package.
Sens. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., wrote that the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, referred to as the SECURE Act, is an important step to help families save for retirement.
The SECURE Act features wide-ranging provisions, including ones that make it easier for smaller employers to join open multiple employer plans, ease non-discrimination rules for frozen defined benefit plans and add 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%.
"We encourage the Senate to take action on the SECURE Act as soon as possible," the senators wrote in the letter. "Doing so would demonstrate to our constituents that the Senate can lead in a bipartisan way for workers saving for retirement, for tax fairness and for family financial security."
In May, the House overwhelmingly passed the SECURE Act in a 417-3 vote. Senate leaders fast-tracked the bill in an attempt to move it via unanimous consent. However, three Republican senators — Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — each put holds on the bill, blocking its passage via unanimous consent.
The bill has remained in limbo ever since — it has not been given floor time in the Senate to be debated, and was not attached to any must-pass legislation in September. Retirement industry groups, which widely support the SECURE Act's passage, are hoping legislators will attach it to a must-pass spending bill in November, the next time Congress needs to act to prevent a government shutdown.
"IRI greatly appreciates the action by these influential senators for encouraging leadership to take action on the SECURE Act as soon as possible to help millions more Americans prepare for a financially secure and dignified retirement," said Dan Zielinski, vice president of strategic communications for the Insured Retirement Institute in a statement.
A spokesman for Mr. McConnell could not immediately be reached for comment.