The SECURE Act was not included in a continuing resolution introduced Monday by House Democrats that will fund the government until Dec. 20.
Proponents of the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, referred to as the SECURE Act, are hoping the bill will get attached to a piece of must-pass legislation, such as a continuing resolution or spending bill. With no such luck on the continuing resolution being considered this week, the next opportunity will come next month before the holiday recess.
"It would be nice to have a Christmas surprise that is not a bag of coal for members of Congress," said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., when asked about the SECURE Act at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association annual meeting Monday in Washington.
Mr. Scott was one of seven Republican senators who wrote a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last month urging action on the SECURE Act. After passing the House in a 417-3 vote in May, the bill has languished in the Senate. 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.
Mr. Toomey proposed considering the bill with limited debate time and limited amendments from both parties on Nov. 7 but was rejected by Democrats who want to pass the bill as is.
If the bill were to be voted on in the Senate, it would garner 70 or 80 votes, Mr. Scott said Monday, touting its bipartisan support.
"Something this bipartisan, this positive and, frankly, this impactful (to) the average person in the country, and not to get it done in 2019, it's a shame," Mr. Scott said.
The SECURE Act features wide-ranging provisions, including ones that make it easier for smaller employers to join open multiple employer defined contribution 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%.