Pending Legislation: Spring 2014

April 8, 2014 | By Jon Vogler

Two major retirement-related bills were introduced in Congress in January 2014.

The Universal Secure and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds Act of 2014 (see "Retirement Reform" section below) from Sen. Harkin, D-IA, would create a privately-run universal retirement plan with lifetime income benefits and pooled, professional management. Among other items, it would require businesses with more than 10 employees to offer the proposed USA Retirement Funds account if they do not currently provide an ongoing defined benefit (DB) pension plan or a defined contribution (DC) plan that:

  1. Automatically enrolls employees at a specified contribution rate, and
  2. Provides a "lifetime income" option at distribution.

The Retirement Security Act of 2014 (see "Retirement Reform") from Sen. Collins, R-ME, would focus on reducing the cost and complexity of retirement plans, especially for small businesses, and on encouraging individuals to save more for retirement. Its major provision would allow small businesses to join multiple employer plans (MEPs) to share the administrative burden of a retirement plan by waiving (for companies with less than 500 employees) the requirement that there be some connection (or "nexus") among unrelated businesses in order to join a MEP.

Rep. Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, issued a comprehensive tax reform proposal in February 2014. The draft legislation, which has not been formally introduced as a bill in Congress as of this writing, aims to simplify the Internal Revenue Code by:

  1. Reducing the current number of individual tax brackets from seven to three (10%, 25% and 35%),
  2. Reducing the corporate tax rate to a flat 25%, phased in over five years, and
  3. Eliminating or consolidating a number of individual and business deductions.

For more information on the retirement-related provisions of this proposal, please view the current "Washington Insights" newsletter on this topic.

On the regulatory front … the Department of Labor's (DOL's) definition of "fiduciary" as it applies to providers of investment advice to retirement plans, anticipated in August 2014, will likely be pushed back until after the mid-term elections in November 2014 due to its controversial nature. The DOL's fee guide proposal, introduced recently as a measure intended to supplement and clarify the fee disclosure requirements which went into effect in 2012, is drawing much attention from retirement service providers, who are concerned about its cost and complexity.

The following represent bills that are actively being considered by Congress at this time. For more information on these and other bills, go to the Library of Congress website at http://thomas.loc.gov.

Bill Description Outlook/Introduction Date
Annuities
Airline Pilot Pension Fairness
Act
HR 2697
Miller, D-CA
The bill would amend title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to require the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), in the case of airline pilots who are required by regulation to retire at age 60, to compute the actuarial value of monthly benefits in the form of a life annuity commencing at age 60. Introduced 7/16/13 – referred on 9/13/13 to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.
Lifetime Income Disclosure Act
HR 2171
Holt, D-NJ
The bill would require plan sponsors of defined contribution plans to inform plan participants, on an annual basis, of the projected monthly income they could anticipate receiving if they took distributions as annuities (based on the amount of money in their accounts). The bill directs the DOL to issue (a) a model disclosure and (b) factors that employers may use in calculating an annuity equivalent. Introduced 5/23/13 – referred to Education and the Workforce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.

Similar bill (S 1145) introduced in Senate on 6/12/13 by Sen. Isakson, R-GA.
To amend title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to provide for a guarantee by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) for qualified preretirement survivor annuities under insolvent or terminated multiemployer pension plans.
HR 566
Petri, R-WI
The bill would guarantee, in the absence of other disqualifying factors, the payment by the PBGC of a qualified preretirement survivor annuity to a participant of a multi-employer pension plan that becomes insolvent or is terminated. Introduced 2/6/13 – referred to Education and the Workforce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 4/23/13.
Charity Pension Plans
Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act
S 1302
Harkin, D-IA
The bill would amend ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to cooperative and small employer charity pension plans (CSEC plans) to:
  • Define such plans as defined benefit plans maintained by multiple employers, all of whom are tax-exempt charitable organizations.
  • Exempt CSEC plans from existing funding standards and allow such plans to establish minimum funding standards and special rules with respect to the valuation of plan assets, required contributions, and liquidity requirements.
  • Require specified notices to CSEC plan participants on the effect of CSEC plan rules on plan funding and on total contributions made by participating employers.
  • Establish a flat premium level for insurance coverage of CSEC plans.
  • Require the PBGC to make sponsors of existing CSEC plans aware of the changes to ERISA made by this Act and the assistance available through the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate established by ERISA.
Introduced 7/16/13 – referred to Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Passed Senate with an amendment by unanimous consent on 1/28/14.
Charitable Pension Flexibility Act of 2013
HR 2134
Brooks, R-IN
The bill would apply to charity pension plans with multiple entities that are exempt from normal pension funding rules until 2017. The bill would permit such plans to elect into the normal rules in 2014. Introduced 5/23/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee and Education and the Workforce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.
Church Plans
Church Plan Clarification Act of 2013
S 952
Cardin, D-MD
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to (a) clarify controlled group rules as they apply to organizations eligible to participate in a church plan, (b) permit automatic contribution arrangements in church plans, (c) exclude from gross income for income tax purposes any amounts attributable to transfers of and mergers of church plans that are maintained by the same church or convention or association of churches and (d) allow church plans and their supporting organizations to invest plan assets in a group trust. Introduced 5/14/13 – referred to Finance Committee.
Distributions
To amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide for a waiver of minimum required distribution rules applicable to pension plans for 2013 and 2014.
HR 2732
Burgess, R-TX
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to waive minimum distribution requirements for tax-exempt retirement plans for calendar years 2013 and 2014. Introduced 7/18/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief Act of 2013
HR 2137
Pascrell, D-NJ
Among other items, the bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide for an exemption from the 10% penalty for premature distributions from a retirement plan to individuals residing in the Hurricane Sandy disaster area. Introduced 5/23/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Vested Employee Pension Benefit Protection Act
S 838
McCaskill, D-MO
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow employees in the building and construction industry to make distributions from their tax-exempt employer pension plans at age 55 if they are not separated from service at the time of such distributions and were participants in such plan on or before April 30, 2013. Introduced 4/25/13 – referred to Finance Committee.

Similar bill (HR 3837) introduced in House on 1/9/14 by Rep. Luetkemeyer (R-MO).
Shrinking Emergency Account Losses Act of 2013 (SEAL Act)
S 606
Nelson, D-FL
The bill would:
  • Allow terminated workers to avoid tax and penalties by contributing the amount outstanding on their plan loans to an IRA by the time they file their taxes for the year in which the amount is treated as a distribution.
  • Allow plan participants to continue to make elective contributions during the six months following a hardship withdrawal.
  • Ban plan loans that are made through a credit card or any other similar arrangement.
Introduced 3/19/13 – referred to Finance Committee.

A similar bill introduced in the last session of Congress received extensive bipartisan support, although it did not pass.
ESOPs
Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act
S 742
Cardin, D-MD
The bill would make it easier for S corporations to sponsor employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Introduced 4/16/13 – referred to Finance Committee.
A bill to modify the definition of fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to exclude appraisers of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs)
S 273
Ayotte, R-NH
The bill would amend ERISA to exclude appraisers of ESOPs from the meaning of a fiduciary subject to ERISA. Introduced 2/11/13 – referred to Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Introduced in response to the DOL's proposed definition of fiduciary (since withdrawn), which would have classified ESOP appraisers as fiduciaries under a plan.

Similar bill (HR 2041) introduced in House on 5/17/13 by Rep. Guthrie, R-KY, and referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.
Executive Pay
Income Equity Act of 2013
HR 199
Lee, D-CA
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to (a) deny employers a tax deduction for payments of excessive compensation to any fulltime employee (i.e., compensation for services exceeding the greater of 25 times the lowest compensation paid to any other employee or $500,000), and (b) require such employers to file a report with the Treasury Secretary on excessive compensation (as defined by this Act) paid to their employees. Introduced 1/4/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Investors
Retail Investor Protection Act
HR 2374
Wagner, R-MO
Among other items, the bill would:
  • Prohibit the Secretary of Labor from prescribing any regulation under ERISA defining the circumstances under which an individual is considered a fiduciary until 60 days after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issues a final rule governing standards of conduct for brokers and dealers under specified law.
  • Amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to prohibit the SEC from promulgating a rule establishing an investment advisor standard of conduct as the standard of conduct of brokers and dealers before it has ascertained: (1) if retail customers are systematically harmed or disadvantaged because brokers or dealers operate under different standards of conduct than those that apply to investment advisors under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and (2) whether adoption of a uniform fiduciary standard of care for brokers or dealers and investment advisors would adversely impact retail investor access or availability to personalized investment advice and recommendations.
Introduced 6/14/13 – passed by the Financial Services Committee on 6/19/13 by a vote of 44 to 13.

Passed in House by 254 – 166 margin on 10/29/13; considered unlikely to pass in the Senate.
IRAs
Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2013
S 1772
Schumer, D-NY
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to exclude from gross income distributions from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) for certain charitable purposes. Introduced 11/21/13 – referred to Finance Committee.
Roth IRA Flexibility Act of 2013
HR 3078
Smith, D-WA
Among other items, the bill would amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to disregard amounts transferred from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in computing income for purposes of determining the income-related premiums under parts B and D of the Medicare program. Introduced 9/10/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health on 9/13/13.
To rename section 219(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as the Kay Bailey Hutchison Spousal IRA.
HR 2289
Johnson, R-TX
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to name the section heading of Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to the individual retirement accounts (IRAs) of married individuals as the Kay Bailey Hutchison Spousal IRA. Introduced 6/6/13 – became Public Law No. 113-22 on 7/25/13.
Automatic IRA Act of 2013
HR 2035
Neal, D-MA
The bill would require employers (with more than 10 employees) who do not maintain a qualified retirement plan to enroll their workers in IRAs via an automatic payroll deduction arrangement. Employees could opt out of the arrangement, and there is no requirement for employers to contribute to employees' IRAs. The bill would create a new federal debt security called an "Rbond" that would be the default investment option for employees should an employer not elect to use a private sector service provider to administer the arrangement. Introduced 5/16/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee and Education and the Workforce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.

Chance of passage might improve if this was framed as a voluntary measure rather than a mandate.
Public Employee Pensions
Smart Savings Act
HR 4193
Issa, R-CA
The bill would change the default investment fund under the Thrift Savings Plan. Introduced 3/11/14 – referred to Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Revolving Door Pension Prevention Act
HR 2594
Israel, D-NY
The bill would prohibit any former member of Congress who is registered as a lobbyist from receiving pension benefits under either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) while such former member is employed as a lobbyist and is receiving an annual income from lobbying activities in excess of $1 million. Introduced 6/28/13 – referred to Administration Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
To amend title 5, United States Code, to provide that Members must complete 12 years of creditable service in order to be vested in an annuity under the Federal Employees' Retirement System, and for other purposes
HR 2357
Coble, R-NC
The bill would require members of Congress to complete at least 12 years of creditable service in order to be vested in an annuity under the FERS. Introduced 6/13/13 – referred to Administration Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Employee Hardship Financial Relief Act of 2013
HR 1643
Kilmer, D-WA
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit federal employees who are furloughed due to sequestration to make penalty-free distributions from their Thrift Savings Account Fund, but only to the extent that the distributions do not exceed the aggregate reduction in compensation of these employees resulting from such furlough. Introduced 4/18/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Public Employee Pension Transparency Act
HR 1628
Nunes, R-CA
The bill would require state or local government employee pension plans to file annual reports with the Secretary of the Treasury. The bill would exempt the US from liability for any future shortfall in any state or local government employee pension plan. Introduced 4/18/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.

Similar bill (S 779) introduced in Senate on 4/23/13 by Sen. Burr, R-NC.
Veterans Pensions Protection Act of 2013
HR 1438
Hastings, D-FL
The bill would exclude certain reimbursements from annual income for purposes of eligibility for pensions for veterans and their surviving spouses and children. Introduced 4/9/13 – referred on 4/26/13 to the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.
To amend Title V, United States Code, to provide for the termination of further retirement benefits for Members of Congress, except the right to continue participating in the Thrift Savings Plan, and for other purposes
HR 423
Coffman, R-CO
The bill would amend the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) to exclude members of Congress, except the vice president, from further CSRS and FERS retirement coverage. Introduced 1/25/13 – referred to Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Administration Committee.
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify the treatment of certain retirement plan contributions picked up by governmental employers.
HR 205
Sanchez, D-CA
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit the treatment of certain employer contributions made to public retirement plans as picked up by an employing unit regardless of whether the participating employee is allowed to make an irrevocable election between the application of two alternative benefit formulas involving the same or different levels of employee contributions. Introduced 1/4/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Deferred Benefits Adjustment Act of 2013
HR 26
Velazquez, D-NY
The bill would amend federal civil service law to provide for the indexation of deferred annuities, including survivor annuities, under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) and for individuals becoming subject to FERS by election. It would terminate the entitlement of a survivor who remarries before age 55 (currently, who remarries at any age) to an annuity based on the service of a deferred annuitant who dies before establishing a valid claim for a CSRS annuity. Introduced 1/3/13 – referred to Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Administration Committee.
Retirement Reform
Universal Secure and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds Act of 2014
S 1979
Sen. Harkin, D-IA
The bill would create a privately-run universal retirement plan with lifetime income benefits and pooled, professional management.

Among other items, the bill would:
  • Require businesses with more than 10 employees to offer the proposed USA Retirement Funds account, if they do not currently provide an ongoing defined benefit (DB) pension plan or a defined contribution (DC) plan that (a) automatically enrolls employees at a specified contribution rate and (b) provides a "lifetime income" option at distribution.
  • Automatically enroll employees into the USA program at a rate of 3% per year in 2015, 4% in 2016, 5% in 2017 and 6% thereafter, but employees could choose to raise, lower or optout of contributions.
  • Pay monthly benefits for life, with survivor benefits and spousal protections, with only limited withdrawals permitted before age 60.
  • Pool and professionally manage the assets of each fund.
  • Require benefit statements to include an illustration of the participant's benefit as an estimated lifetime income stream beginning at retirement.
Introduced 1/30/14 – referred to Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The bill is considered unlikely to pass in its current form, largely due to its complexity.
Retirement Security Act of 2014
S 1970
Sen. Collins, R-ME
The bill focuses on reducing the cost and complexity of retirement plans, especially for small businesses, and on encouraging individuals to save more for retirement.

The bill would:
  • Lower costs by allowing small businesses to join multiple employer plans (MEPs) to share the administrative burden of a retirement plan. It would do this by waiving the requirement that there be some connection (or "nexus") among unrelated businesses in order to join a MEP. Only businesses with fewer than 500 employees would be eligible for this waiver. Regulations would be prepared by Treasury to address the current concern that the failure by one business to meet the minimum criteria necessary to maintain a tax-preferred retirement plan can endanger benefits for all MEP participants.
  • Direct Treasury to simplify, clarify and consolidate notice requirements for retirement plans.
  • Create an additional safe harbor for automatic enrollment plans allowing employees to contribute more than 10% of annual pay and receive an employer match on contributions up to 10% of pay (the existing safe harbor caps employee contributions at 10%, with the employer matching an amount up to 6%). The bill would help businesses with less than 100 employees offset the cost of this additional match by providing a new tax credit equal to the increased match.
  • Direct Treasury to make the non-refundable credit for low- and middle-income individuals who contribute to an IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan available on Form 1040EZ.
Introduced 1/29/14 – referred to Finance Committee.
Secure Annuities for Employees (SAFE) Retirement Act of 2013
S 1270
Hatch, R-UT
In addition to making substantial changes to the public retirement system, the bill would expand coverage and simplify the operation of the private retirement system. Some key revisions to the private retirement system in Title II of the bill would:
  • Create a new safe harbor deferral-only "Starter 401(k)" plan with automatic enrollment and an $8,000 deferral limit (plus a catch-up for those age 50 and over) for employers that do not have another retirement plan.
  • Allow employers to adopt a qualified retirement plan on or before the due date, with extensions, of the employer's tax return.
  • Introduce a new automatic enrollment 401(k) safe harbor option, featuring a 6% (rather than a 3%) initial deferral rate.
  • Remove the 10% auto-escalation limit on elective deferrals under the existing automatic enrollment safe harbor.
  • Eliminate top-heavy requirements.
  • Allow plan sponsors to make electronic delivery of retirement plan documents the default option.
  • Allow individuals to roll over certain insurance contracts into individual retirement accounts.
  • Allow required minimum distributions to be rolled over into Roth IRAs.
The legislation would also restore jurisdiction over the fiduciary rules in the tax code to the Treasury Department, and would require Treasury officials to consult with the SEC in prescribing rules relating to the professional standard of care owed by brokers and investment advisors to IRA investors.
Introduced 7/9/13 – referred to Finance Committee.

While the bill is not likely to be adopted in its entirety, some provisions may be included in any future tax reform legislation.
Retirement Plan Simplification and Enhancement Act of 2013
HR 2117
Neal, D-MA
Among other items, the bill would:
  • Clarify the administration of joint and survivor annuity rules.
  • Establish an additional automatic enrollment safe harbor that would feature (a) a minimum default contribution of 6%, (b) a modified matching formula and (c) a special tax credit.
  • Allow employers to adopt a qualified retirement plan up until the due date of tax filings for the year.
  • Increase the portability of in-plan lifetime income options.
  • Clarify the law with respect to the availability of distribution options.
  • Provide an exception from the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules when a retiree's savings do not exceed $100,000.
Introduced 5/22/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.
Savings Accounts
401Kids Family Savings Act of 2013
S 1515
Kirk, R-IL
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to improve and expand education savings accounts. This would include (a) the conversion of Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts to 401Kids Savings Accounts, (b) allowing for distributions for first time home purchases as a qualified expense and (c) permitting qualified rollover contributions from 401Kids Savings Accounts to Roth IRAs. Introduced 9/18/13 – referred to Finance Committee.
Savings for American Families' Future Act of 2013
HR 837
Neal, D-MA
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to expand the availability of the saver's credit, to make the credit refundable and to make federal matching contributions into the retirement savings of the taxpayer. Introduced 2/26/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Service Crediting
Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013
HR 675
Schakowsky, D-IL
Among other items, the bill would credit part-time employees with additional service for purposes of participation, vesting and accrual rules in pension plans. Introduced 2/13/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee, Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Administration Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 4/23/13.
Social Security
Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013
HR 3118
Sanchez, D-CA
The bill is intended to improve the retirement security of American families by strengthening Social Security. The bill would:
  • Alter the determination of taxable wages and self-employment income above the contribution and benefit base after 2013.
  • Make adjustments to the bend points in determining the primary insurance amount (PIA) and include surplus earnings (as defined) for benefit determinations.
  • Adopt a consumer price index for elderly consumers and use that as the basis for the computation of cost-of-living increases for Social Security benefits.
Introduced 9/17/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee and Education and the Workforce Committee.
Social Security Equality Act of 2013
HR 3050
Sanchez, D-CA
The bill would amend Title II of the Social Security Act to provide for the treatment of permanent partnerships between individuals of the same gender as marriage for purposes of determining entitlement to benefits under such title. Introduced 8/2/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2013
HR 2745
Rohrabacker, R-CA
The bill would amend Title II of the Social Security Act to exclude from creditable wages and selfemployment income wages earned for services by aliens illegally performed in the US and selfemployment income derived from a trade or business illegally conducted in the US. Introduced 7/18/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
CPI for Seniors Act of 2013
HR 2154
Duncan, R-TN
The bill would mandate the monthly formulation and publication of a consumer price index (CPI) specifically for senior citizens for the purpose of establishing an accurate Social Security cost-ofliving adjustment (COLA) for such citizens. Introduced 5/23/13 – referred to Education and the Workforce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.

Several bills listed in this section include a provision to base COLAs on a consumer price index for the elderly. These measures were likely drafted in response to the inclusion of a separate index (the so-called "chained" CPI) in President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal.
Social Security Fairness Act of 2013
HR 1795
Davis, R-IL
The bill would amend Title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance – OASDI) of the Social Security Act to repeal the government pension offset and the windfall elimination provisions. Introduced 4/26/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.

Similar bill (S 896) introduced in Senate on 5/8/13 by Sen. Begich, D-AK.
Social Security and Medicare Protection Act
HR 1713
Murphy, R-PA
The bill would establish a procedure to safeguard the surpluses of the Social Security and Medicare hospital insurance trust funds. Introduced 4/24/13 – referred to Rules Committee and Budget Committee.
Guaranteed 3% COLA for Seniors Act of 2013
HR 1585
Engel, D-NY
The bill would direct the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the DOL to prepare and publish a monthly Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers that indicates changes over time in expenditures for consumption that are typical for individuals in the United States age 62 or older. It would amend Title II of the Social Security Act to (a) require the use of such index to compute cost-of-living increases for Social Security benefits and (b) provide, in the case of individuals who have attained age 62, for an annual cost-of-living increase of at least 3%. Introduced 4/16/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee and Education and the Workforce Committee.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 7/8/13.
Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act of 2013
HR 1374
Moore, D-WI
Among other items, the bill would:
  • Revise the formula for computation of the primary insurance amount (PIA).
  • Prescribe a formula for an increase in benefit amounts for certain beneficiaries on account of long-term eligibility.
  • Add a percentage of a certain part of remuneration to the formula for determining taxable wages and the net earnings from taxable self-employment income above the contribution and benefit base for FICA tax purposes beginning in 2015.
  • Amend the formula for computation of the PIA to establish a new bend point, for individuals becoming eligible in 2015, involving the contribution and benefit base and prescribe another formula for PIA computation purposes, based on the new bend point, for those becoming eligible after 2015.
  • Increase the FICA tax rates on a graduated basis beginning in 2015.
Introduced 3/21/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Social Security Guarantee Act of 2013
HR 1275
Jones, R-NC
The bill would guarantee the right of individuals to receive Social Security benefits in full with an accurate, annual cost-of-living adjustment. Introduced 3/20/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee.
Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013
S 567
Harkin, D-IA
The bill would:
  • Reform the Social Security benefit formula to boost benefits for all beneficiaries, targeted especially to help those in the low and middle segments of the income distribution.
  • Base future cost-of-living adjustments on a consumer price index for the elderly.
  • Phase out the current taxable cap of $113,700 so that payroll taxes apply to every dollar of wages.
Introduced 3/14/13 – referred to Finance Committee.
Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act
S 500
Sanders, I-VT
The bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to apply payroll taxes to remuneration and earnings from self-employment up to the contribution and benefit base and to remuneration in excess of $250,000. Introduced 3/7/13 – referred to Finance Committee.

Similar bill (HR 1029) introduced in House on 3/7/13 by Rep. DeFazio, D-OR.
Social Security Protection and Truth in Budgeting Act of 2013
HR 1031
DeFazio, D-OR
The bill would:
  • Amend Title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance – OASDI) of the Social Security Act to prohibit the receipts and disbursements of the Social Security trust funds from being included in the federal budget baseline for any fiscal year and from being counted as new budget authority, outlays, receipts or deficit or surplus for purposes of offsetting any tax decrease or spending increase.
  • Exclude Social Security trust fund receipts and disbursement totals from official Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congressional Budget Office budget pronouncements.
  • Make proceeds to the Social Security trust funds from Social Security taxes available solely for OASDI purposes and would prohibit their availability for the establishment or funding of private accounts.
Introduced 3/7/13 – referred to Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee.
Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act
HR 649
Deutch, D-FL
The bill would:
  • Direct the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor to prepare and publish for each calendar month a Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPIEC) that indicates changes over time in consumption expenditures typical for individuals in the US age 62 or older.
  • Amend title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance – OASDI) of the Social Security Act to make the CPIEC the applicable Consumer Price Index for computation of cost-of-living increases in OASDI benefits for such individuals.
  • Amend the Internal Revenue Code to prescribe special rules for the determination of wages and self-employment income above the contribution and benefit base after 2013.
  • Amend the Social Security Act to include surplus average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) in the determination of primary OASDI amounts.
Introduced 2/13/13 – referred on 2/19/13 to the Subcommittee on Social Security.

Referred to Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on 4/23/13.
Similar bill (S 308) introduced in Senate on 2/13/13 by Sen. Begich, D-AK.
Savings for Seniors Act of 2013
HR 370
Blackburn, R-TN
The bill would:
  • Amend the Social Security Act to establish a Social Security Surplus Protection Account to hold the Social Security surplus.
  • Deny the availability of the balance in the Account for investment by the managing trustee.
  • Establish in the executive branch of government a Social Security Investment Commission to study the most effective vehicles for investment of the trust fund, other than investment in the form of US obligations resulting in the transfer of trust fund assets to the general fund of the Treasury.
Introduced 1/23/13 – referred on 2/4/13 to the Subcommittee on Social Security.
Social Security Lock-Box Act of 2013
S 110
Vitter, R-LA
The bill would:
  • Provide a point of order against consideration of any (a) budget resolution that sets forth totals for any fiscal year with respect to the Social Security trust funds that are less than the totals of the trust funds for that fiscal year as calculated in accordance with a current services baseline, or (b) spending or tax legislation that would cause any totals to be less than the funds totals for the covered fiscal year.
  • Make the point of order described in (b) above inapplicable to Social Security reform legislation.
  • Require any federal budget submitted by the president that recommends totals for any fiscal year with respect to the funds that are less than the totals of the funds for that fiscal year to include a detailed proposal for Social Security reform legislation and makes this Act inapplicable upon the enactment of such legislation.
Introduced 1/23/13 – referred to Budget Committee.
Social Security Earnings Test Repeal Act of 2013
HR 387
Green, D-TX
The bill would amend the Social Security Act to remove the limitation on the amount of outside income that a beneficiary may earn (earnings test) without incurring a reduction in benefits. Introduced 1/23/13 – referred on 2/8/13 to the Subcommittee on Social Security.
Disability Benefit Fairness Act of 2013
HR 160
McIntyre, D-NC
The bill would amend the Social Security Act to eliminate (a) the five-month waiting period for an individual (including a disabled widow or widower) to be eligible for benefits based on disability, and (b) any intervening reconsideration from the review process governing decisions on benefit entitlement. Introduced 1/4/13 – referred on 1/15/13 to the Subcommittee on Social Security.
Notch Fairness Act of 2013
HR 155
McIntyre, D-NC
The bill would amend the Social Security Act to revise the formula for the computation of minimum Old Age Insurance benefits for individuals who reached age 65 in or after 1979, and to whom applies the 15-year transition period for the changes in benefit computation rules enacted in the Social Security Amendments of 1977. ["Notch" refers to birth in the US between 1917 and 1921, as a result of which a retiree born between those years received lower cost-of-living increases in Social Security than others after Congress readjusted Social Security benefits in 1977.] Introduced 1/4/13 – referred on 1/15/13 to the Subcommittee on Social Security.

Similar bill (S 90) introduced in Senate on 1/23/13 by Sen. Vitter, R-LA.

Source: Library of Congress, as of March 17, 2014
IRA = Individual Retirement Account
ERISA = Employee Retirement Income Security Act

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