Legislative Update - Spring 2019

Apr 2, 2019 | By Jon Vogler

Jon Vogler
Senior Analyst,
Retirement Research,
Invesco Consulting

A large percentage of the retirement-related bills which have been introduced in this first quarter of the new 116th edition of Congress have to do with Social Security. Examples (listed in the below “Social Security” category) include proposals to:

  • Modify the portion of wages and self-employment income subject to payroll taxes; the benefit formula would include earnings in excess of $300,000 (see “Save Social Security Act of 2019”).
  • Provide for an across-the-board benefit increase and a more accurate cost-of-living adjustment, as well as increase the minimum benefit for lifetime low earners based on years in the workforce, and include earnings over $400,000 in the Social Security benefit formula (see “Social Security 2100 Act”)
  • Repeal the government pension offset and the windfall elimination provision (see “Social Security Fairness Act of 2019”).
  • Create a special account to hold the Social Security surplus (see “Social Security and Medicare Lock-Box Act”).
  • Establish a commission on long-term Social Security solvency (see “Bipartisan Social Security Commission Act of 2019”).
  •  Increase survivors benefits for disabled widows, widowers and surviving divorced spouses (see “SWIFT Act”).

Two separate (but similar) bills from the last session of Congress were reintroduced in the House in February. Both the Family Savings Act of 2019 and the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) (listed in the “Retirement reform” category) are comprehensive bills designed to expand and preserve retirement savings.

On the regulatory front, a Congressional hearing was held in March about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) proposed standards of conduct for broker-dealers and investment advisors. Opponents of the proposal contend that it does not offer enough in the way of investor protection, while supporters believe that stricter obligations for brokers (beyond the switch from a “suitability” to a “best interest” standard) could limit choices for low-income investors. The SEC is expected to release a final version of the proposal in the second or third quarter of this year.

Please download the PDF to read about bills that are actively being considered by Congress at this time. For more information on these and other bills, visit the Library of Congress website.