The first major retirement security package in more than a decade is on the cusp of being signed into law.
The Senate Thursday voted 71-23 in favor of an eight-bill spending package, to which the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, referred to as the SECURE Act, was attached. The House approved the same measure Tuesday by a vote of 297-120.
The eight-bill package is part of a $1.4 trillion spending deal. The Senate will vote on a four-bill package that focuses on national security measures later Thursday and a similar vote is expected.
The two packages, which must pass by midnight Friday to avoid a government shutdown, will head to the president's desk for his signature.
"The SECURE Act is a huge win for American workers and their financial futures," said Marc Cadin, president and CEO of the Association for Advanced Life Underwriting, in a statement. "After months of being stalled, we applaud the champions of this bill for their commitment to addressing the retirement savings gap, and we hope the president will sign it into law immediately to unleash these critical savings tools."
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%.
"Fidelity applauds Congress for passing the SECURE Act, bipartisan legislation to improve retirement security for American workers," said Sangeeta Moorjani, head of workplace investing employer experience and retirement solutions at Fidelity Investments, in a statement. "The SECURE Act includes many common-sense reforms that will increase access to workplace retirement plans and expand retirement savings."
The Bipartisan American Miners Act of 2019, which would transfer funds from the Interior Department's Abandoned Mine Land fund to help cover the pension benefit obligations of the United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan, Washington, and health-care benefits, is also attached to the spending package headed to the president's desk.