Senate committee releases its own retirement security package

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Many Americans are concerned about their retirement security.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a new retirement savings bill Thursday, senators announced in a news release.

Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Ranking Member Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., released a discussion draft of the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement to Supplement Healthy Investments for the Nest Egg (RISE & SHINE) Act–legislation to strengthen people’s emergency savings and retirement security.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was exactly the kind of crisis millions of families simply could not afford. Families across Washington state were forced to raid their retirement savings to pay for groceries, pay their mortgage, and just to make ends meet. And this crisis has been even harder on the countless people who have never had access to a retirement plan, and have never even been paid enough to make ends meet–let alone save for their futures,” said Senator Murray, “We need to put families back on solid financial footing and use the tools we know work to help people put more money in their savings and retirement accounts–which is why this bipartisan package is so important. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Burr and our colleagues to pass this package and improve the financial security of workers, retirees, and families across the country.”

In March, the House of Representatives passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (SSRA of 2022) with overwhelming bipartisan support, 414-5.

That bill features provisions to loosen restriction on annuities in retirement plans in a section called Preservation of Income. It would change required minimum distribution rules to allow annuity options and also raise the limits on Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs).

One possibility is a conference committee of House and Senate members to work out differences in their respective bills. Industry officials are optimistic on the chances for a retirement security bill passing into law by the end of the year.

“The recent historic inflation for everyday essentials, like groceries and gas, reinforces the importance of financial planning and saving,” said Senator Burr. “That’s why I’m proud to work with my colleagues on this retirement package, which builds off of many bipartisan proposals to enhance Americans’ access to retirement plans, strengthen the ability of small businesses to offer plans to their employees, and improve overall savings for retirees’ golden years. I look forward to working with the Committee to further improve this discussion draft with significant and practical long-term retirement solutions.”

The Senators worked with their colleagues to develop the broad, bipartisan retirement package following the HELP Committee hearing earlier this year focused on improving retirement security and enhancing emergency savings, the release said.

The RISE & SHINE Act includes a wide range of policies to create additional protections for workers and retirement savers at all stages of their retirement timelines, including steps to:

* bolster savings by allowing employers to offer emergency savings accounts;

* expand access to employer-provided retirement plans through multiple employer plans, and through increased access to plans for part-time workers;

* improve communications to retirement plan participants and transparency around lump-sum buyout offers for pension plan participants;

The package builds off legislation in the House–the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021 (SECURE 2.0), and the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act (RISE Act)–as well as the Retirement Security & Savings Act introduced by Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Portman, R-Ohio, the release said.

Senator Murray and Senator Burr plan to introduce and mark up final legislation in the coming weeks.

Feedback on the discussion draft should be submitted to [email protected] by June 2, 2022.

Section-by-Section of RISE & SHINE Act Discussion Draft HERE (https://www.help.senate.gov/download/052622-retirement-bill_section-by-section-summary).

Full text of RISE & SHINE Act Discussion Draft HERE (https://www.help.senate.gov/download/052622_-help-retirement-discussion-draft).