117th Congress, 2nd Session

Hearings

Legislative Proposals

National Savings Proposals

  • To view federal legislation proposing national savings solutions, see prior sessions.

Other Reform Proposals

Legislative Proposals

Retirement Savings Modernization Act

Introduced as S.4973 by Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) on September 28, 2022, and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

This bill would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and clarify the fiduciary duty for retirement plan sponsors that they may include a range of investment asset classes, including private equity. This bill does not provide an exemption or safe harbor from ERISA’s fiduciary standard.

Source: Congress.govPress release at banking.senate.gov

Retirement Protection Act of 2022

Introduced as H.R. 8579 by Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL) on July 28, 2022, and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The bill is intended to help combat inflation by allowing Americans’ to contribute more to their retirement accounts. The yearly contribution limit for both Roth and Traditional IRAs would be raised to $10,000 and the workplace retirement yearly contribution limit would be raised to $24,500.

Sources: congress.gov, schweikert.house.gov

Maximize Americans’ Retirement Savings Act of 2022

Introduced as S.4613 by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) on July 26, 2022, and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

The bill would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by defining that fiduciary function of plan administrators is to elect and manage investments based exclusively on financial factors.

Sources: congress.gov

Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act of 2022

Introduced as S. 4808 by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and referred to the Senate Finance committee. The draft bill was marked up in the Senate Finance Committee on June 22, 2022 and the bill was formally introduced on September, 8, 2022.

The bill would make numerous changes affecting IRAs and 401(k)s, including catch up contributions, penalties for errors and withdrawals, portability, and additional incentives for employers to adopt plans; greater flexibility related to life annuities; establishes a retirement account lost and found; and several other provisions.

Read a section-by-section summary of the proposed bill (which has yet to be assigned a bill number). Read the June 17, 2022 Senate Finance Committee press release and the June 22, 2022 bill markup press release.

For more information, congress.gov.

Advancing Auto Portability Act of 2022

Introduced as S.4406 by Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on June 15, 2022, and referred to the Senate Finance committee.

The bill would permit a worker’s 401(k) savings account to automatically be transmitted from a preceding employer to a new employer, helping Americans who often fluctuate jobs to increase retirement savings. For businesses that start sponsored retirement plans, the bill would increase tax credits.

Sources: congress.gov; Press release at hickenlooper.senate.gov

RISE & SHINE Act of 2022

Introduced as S.4353 by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on June 7, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. This bill was marked up in Committee on June 14, 2022.

The bill would generate increased protections for workers and those saving for retirement. Allows 403(b) plans in multiple employer plans (MEPs) and pooled employer plans (PEPs). The bill will lower the requirement to two years of service from three years of service for part-time workers to participate in an employer’s retirement savings plans. Employers will also be allowed to provide workplace emergency accounts attached to contribution plans. Employers will no longer have to provide reminders to employees who have formerly chosen not to participate in a workplace retirement plan. Pension plan administrators would be enforced to give plan participants important information that would help better direct people for their financial futures.

Sources: congress.gov; Bill summary (committee version)

Emergency Savings Act of 2022

Introduced as S.4310 by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Todd Young (R-IN) on May 25, 2022, and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

The bill would allow for the establishment of an Emergency Savings Account as an optional feature that can be added to a plan sponsor’s defined contribution plan.  The maximum that can be saved in an Emergency Savings Account is $2,500. Plan sponsors may choose to set a lower cap. The savings in an Emergency Savings Account will be made on an after-tax basis and can be withdrawn tax penalty-free at any time (with permissible limitations on withdrawal frequency). Contributions to the Emergency Savings Account will be treated as elective deferrals for purposes of retirement matching contributions, with an annual matching cap set at the maximum Emergency Savings Account balance – i.e., $2,500 or lower as set by the plan sponsor. Plan sponsors may use automatic enrollment at up to 3% of a participant’s salary to increase participation in the Emergency Savings Account. Employees can opt-out or adjust their contribution at any time. Retirement plan leakage often occurs when people change jobs, since separation from service is a distribution event. As such and to encourage people to preserve their retirement savings, participants may take their Emergency Savings Account as cash, roll it into their Roth defined contribution plan, or roll it into a Roth IRA at separation from service.

Sources: congress.gov; Bill summary, Office of Senator Young

Employee and Retiree Access to Justice Act of 2022

Introduced as S.4219 by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) on May 12, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

This bill would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to provide that any mandatory pre dispute or coerced post dispute arbitration clause, class action waiver, representation waiver, or discretionary clause with respect to a plan is unenforceable, to prohibit any such clause or waiver from being included in a plan document or other agreement with plan participants, and for other purposes.

Sources: govinfo.gov; congress.gov

Simplifying Small Business Retirement Savings Act

Introduced as S.4154 by Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) on May 5, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

This bi-partisan bill would 1) allow companies administering Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) to have the option of using Directed Trustees, an industry standard for large companies, as well as Discretionary Trustees; 2) Group of Plans allow small businesses to combine their resources while retaining more independence. Generally, businesses with fewer than 100 employers are subject to simplified IRS compliance requirements for their retirement plans. However, when participating in Group of Plans, the retirement plan administrator is required to follow the filing process for larger companies, since the number of employees among the pooled small business surpasses 100. The bill would apply the same simplified process to any retirement plan pool that is made up of small businesses each of 100 employers or fewer; and 3) require the U.S. Department of Labor to study PEPs and make periodic recommendations for how to improve them.

Source: Congress.govPress release at hickenlooper.senate.gov

Incentivizing Small Business Retirement Savings Act

Introduced as S.4153 by Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO) on May 5, 2022, and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

This bill would help small businesses with the costs of offering their employees a retirement plan by providing a tax credit not to exceed $1,000 per employee for the contributions they make on behalf of workers for the first five years they are made. The tax credit would apply to businesses with 50 or fewer employees and phase out gradually for those with 50 to 100 employees.

Source: Congress.gov, Press release at hickenlooper.senate.gov

Financial Freedom Act of 2022

Introduced as S.4147 by Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on May 5, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

To prohibit the Secretary of Labor from constraining the range or type of investments that may be offered to participants and beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts who exercise control over the assets in such accounts.

Source: congress.gov

Too Narrow to Succeed Act

HOUSE BILL

Introduced as H.R.7594 by Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH) on April 27, 2022, and referred to the House Oversight and Reform; Education and Labor; Financial Services; Transportation and Infrastructure; Armed Services; House Administration committees.

This Bill aims to enable both public and private retirement funds to adopt broader and more inclusive selection processes to reduce systemic risk and maximize returns, consistent with administrators’ fiduciary responsibilities. The Bill requires the Secretary of Labor to conduct a survey of the best practices in fund asset management with respect to increasing the utilization and capacity of diverse-owned asset management firms; and

prepare and submit a report to Congress not less often than every 3 years, or more frequently as the Secretary considers to be appropriate. By doing this, the Secretary of Labor shall survey a sample of public and private-sector pension plans subject to ERISA, which are engaging in strategies to improve access to, and representation by, diverse-owned asset management firms.

SENATE BILL

Introduced as S.4097 by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) on April 27, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Source: Congress.gov

Increasing Small Business Retirement Choices Act

Introduced as S.4086 by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Tim Scott (R-SC) on April 26, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

This bi-partisan legislation aims to make it easier for small businesses to offer more comprehensive retirement benefits to their workers by reducing the administrative expenses associated with changing or amending plan options.

ERISA requires employers to pay out-of-pocket for costs associated with changing plan design of the 401(k) accounts that they offer. This bill would change the law to allow small business employers to use retirement plan funds to pay expenses associated with those changes, such as implementing auto-escalation and auto-enrolment into their existing plans, which can help save employees more money in the long-term and allow for better plan options to be provided.

Source: Congress.gov, rosen.senate.gov

INFORM: Information Needed for Financial Options Risk Mitigation Act

Introduced as S.4087 by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on April 26, 2022, and referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The bill requires pension plan sponsors to provide program participants with more information about the downsides of lump sum buyouts of their lifetime retirement plans.

More specifically, the bill would require plan sponsors to notify participants 90 days in advance of the period in which they will have to decide about their buy-out. Along with this notice, the plan sponsors will have to provide the following information:

  • A comparison of benefits offered under the plan and the buyout offer;
  • An explanation of how the lump sum was calculated;
  • The ramifications of accepting a lump sum (such as the loss of certain federal protections);
  • Tax rules related to accepting he lump sum, including rollover options and early distribution penalties;
  • Details about the election period, where to follow up with questions, and other essential information.

Moreover, plan sponsors will also need to disclose buyouts to the Department of Labor, which will then submit a biannual report to Congress which summarizes such notices and post-offer reports. The Secretary of Labor shall issue guidance and model notices for plan sponsors to use in providing the notice described within 180 days of the enactment of this bill. The bill aims to protect long-term family savings.

Source: Congress.gov, murray.senate.gov

Protecting America’s Retirement Security Act

Introduced as H.R.7310 by Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA) on March 31, 2022, and scheduled to be marked up by the House Committee on Education and Labor on April 5, 2022. This bill proposes several initiatives and amendments to ERISA:

  • Creation of a personal finance education portal on a centralized and publicly available website of the Department of Education;
    • Among other things, the portal will include information about the interaction between savings and retirement decisions.
  • Increase spousal protection under defined contribution plans while introducing new provisions for exceptional circumstances, in which funds may be accessed by the spouse.
  • Strengthening ERISA auto-enrollment procedures
  • Establishment of the Employee Ownership and Participation Initiative to promote employee ownership and participation in business decision making; the Secretary of Labor will support any existing and any future State programs that share this goal.
  • Establishment of the Refund to Rainy Day Savings Program, which will allow taxpayers to defer 20% of their tax refund payment and have it deposited in a Rainy-Day Fund.

The bill was marked up by the House Committee on Education and Labor on April 5, 2022. The Committee voted on several amendments, which were all defeated, and the bill was reported out of the Committee.

Source: Congress.gov

Informed Savers Act

Introduced as H.R.7284 by Representative Susan Wild (D-PA) on March 30, 2022 and referred to the house Committee on Education and Labor.

The Bill directs the Department of Labor to review regulations regarding retirement plan fee disclosures in order to increase transparency for plan participants. As a part of this review, the Department must conduct stakeholder outreach to engage both employers and savers to understand current shortcomings. This Bill aims to improve participants’ understanding of fees and expenses related to retirement plans, and their long-term effects.

Sources: Congress.gov, wild.house.gov

Starter-K Act of 2022

HOUSE BILL

Introduced as H.R. 8125 by Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL)  on June 16, 2022, and referred to the House Ways and Means; Education and Labor committees.

SENATE BILL

Introduced as S. 3955 by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) on March 30, 2022. This bill establishes a new deferral-only retirement plan as new Internal Revenue Code Section 401(k)(16). Such plans must meet the following requirements: 1) Automatic enrollment at not less than 3% or more than 15% of pay and 2) Annual contribution limits of $6,000, indexed to inflation. Plans meeting the requirements of this subsection are treated as having met nondiscrimination requirements. Employers eligible to offer a plan under new Sec. 401(k)(16) are those who do not currently maintain any other qualified plan.

Plans meeting the requirements of this section allow for catchup contributions of $3,000, indexed to inflation, for individuals aged 50 or older. The Secretary of Labor to prescribe simplified reporting for plans meeting the requirements of this section. Plans meeting the requirements of this section are not treated as top-heavy plans. The hiring of a plan administrator or third-party administrator by a plan not subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) shall not cause such plan to be subject to ERISA. All amendments made by this section shall apply to plan years beginning after December 31, 2022.

Source: Summary by the office of Senator Carper; and Congress.gov

Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022

Introduced as H.R. 2954 by Representative Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) on May 4, 2021 and marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee on May 5, 2021.  The bill was reported out the House Ways and Means Committee on March 29, 2022. and discharged by the Finance Committee and Education and Labor Committee with a house floor vote of 414-5 for passage on March 30, 2022.  The bill has now moved to the Senate for consideration.

This bill builds on the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 to further improve workers’ long-term financial wellbeing. This bill would:

  • Promote savings earlier for retirement by enrolling employees automatically in their company’s 401(k) plan, when a new plan is created;
  • Create a new financial incentive for small businesses to offer retirement plans;
  • Increase and modernize the existing federal tax credit for contributions to a retirement plan or IRA (the Saver’s Credit);
  • Expand retirement savings options for non-profit employees by allowing groups of non-profits to join together to offer retirement plans to their employees;
  • Offer individuals 60 and older more flexibility to set aside savings as they approach retirement;
  • Allow individuals to save for retirement longer by increasing the required minimum distribution age to 75;
  • Allow individuals to pay down a student loan instead of contributing to a 401(k) plan and still receive an employer match in their retirement plan;
  • Make it easier for military spouses who change jobs frequently to save for retirement;
  • Allow individuals more flexibility to make gifts to charity through their IRAs;
  • Allow taxpayers to avoid harsh penalties for inadvertent errors managing an IRA that can lead to a loss of retirement savings;
  • Protect retirees who unknowingly receive retirement plan overpayments; and
  • Make it easier for employees to find lost retirement accounts by creating a national, online, database of lost accounts.

See bill summary (2021) prepared by the Groom Law Group. Source: Congress.gov.

Enhancing Emergency and Retirement Savings Act of 2022

Introduced as H.R. 7146 by Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) on March 17, 2022.

This bill would permit penalty-free distributions, up to $1,000, from tax-exempt retirement plans for emergency personal expenses, limited to one distribution in a calendar year. The bill allows repayment to plans of such distributions over a three-year period.

Source: Congress.gov

Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act

Introduced as H.R. 5891 by Representative Robert Scott (D-VA) on November 5, 2021.

This bill would establish a national online lost-and-found database for retirement accounts and would permit 403(b) plans to participate in multiple employer plans. The RISE Act would also allow employers to offer small financial incentives, like gift cards, to boost employee participation in retirement plans and reduces the service requirement for part-time workers to participate in retirement plans from three years to two.

On February 25, 2022, this bill was Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Education and Labor, discharged by the Committee on Ways and Means, and placed on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 180.

Source: Congress.gov

Auto Reenroll Act of 2022

HOUSE BILL

Introduced as H.R.6782 by Representative Kathy Manning (D-NC) on February 18, 2022.

The bill would amend ERISA to provide incentives, such as safe harbors, for employers who auto re-enroll workers in employer-sponsored plans. The bill would prompt those employees who initially opt-out of an employer-sponsored plan, to reconsider their choice every three years. This bill aims to increase worker participation in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Source: Congress.gov, napa-net.org, planadviser.com

SENATE BILL

A companion bill was introduced as S.3712 by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) on February 28, 2022.

Source: Congress.gov

Lifetime Income for Employees (LIFE) Act

Introduced as H.R.6746 by Representative Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) on February 15, 2022.

The bill would amend ERISA and allow annuities to be added to employer-provided 401(k) plans as a default investment option. Specifically, the bill will allow employers to benefit from the qualified default investment alternative regulatory safe harbor if they include annuities as a default investment option in their retirement plan.

Source: Congress.gov, norcross.house.gov, planadviser.com