Even though Congress was on vacation for several weeks, some notable bills were recently introduced in the last quarter:
The Automatic IRA Act of 2019 (in the “IRAs” section) would expand personal savings and retirement savings coverage by enabling employees not covered by qualifying retirement plans to save for retirement through automatic IRA arrangements. Exceptions would be made for small or new employers, as provided in the bill, as well as for church or governmental organizations.
A House concurrent resolution (in the “Multi-employer plans” section) would establish the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multi-Employer Pension Plans, which will provide recommendations and legislative language that will significantly improve the solvency of multi-employer pension plans (which are typically defined benefit pension plans for union employees) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
In our Winter 2019 edition of Washington Insights, we cited the dire situation faced by many US multiemployer pension plans. According to an actuarial study, as many as 1.3 million participants in US multiemployer pension plans are at risk of losing their benefits in the next 20 years. The reasons (and proposed solutions) for this problem differ dramatically, depending on your party affiliation. Even though there is some bipartisan interest in resolving this issue, the disparity among the offered proposals makes passage uncertain. Fall 2019 edition examines the controversy surrounding the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act.
Several bills which were introduced in the last session of Congress have reappeared in the current 116th edition. This is not unusual. Some bills garner support, but may not be signed into law for a variety of reasons, including differing policy approaches, the composition of the Congress, dueling legislative priorities, the inclusion of controversial provisions, a collective preference for a regulatory solution, or just plain politics.
In this edition of Washington Insights, we examine the provisions of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Recently passed by the US House of Representatives, this is the most comprehensive retirement bill considered by Congress in more than a decade. We analyze the prospects for it to be adopted by the Senate, or alternatively reconciled with the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) — a similar bill in the Senate. We will then assess the likelihood of this legislation (as well as a second separate retirement bill) becoming law later this year.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calls on federal regulators to clarify the rules regarding the transfers of unclaimed savings from employer-based 401(k) plans to the states.
In this edition of Washington Insights, we explore the findings and recommendations in the GAO report, as well as the unexpected manner in which accounts may be considered to be “abandoned” for purposes of some state laws on “escheatment” (i.e., forfeiture).
A new Congress typically offers hope that constructive retirement-related bills will be submitted (or resubmitted). Bills for the new year have begun to be introduced now that the 116th Congress has convened. But if this Congress is like its predecessor, partisan disputes may limit its ability to pass new legislation.
This edition of Legislative Update will recap pension-related legislation passed by the 115th Congress in 2018, review a number of topics that shared the spotlight in 2018 and assess the prospects for their further development in 2019.
In this edition of Washington Insights, we address two retirement-related topics in the news recently.
First, we will review proposed hardship regulations issued in November 2018.
Second, we will take a look at the recent concern over the status and viability of multiemployer pension plans.