Neal Floor Statement on the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022
(As prepared for delivery)
M. Speaker, H.R. 2954, will help Americans successfully save for a secure retirement by expanding coverage and increasing retirement savings, simplifying the current retirement system, and protecting Americans’ retirement accounts.
Retirement security has consistently been one of my top priorities as the Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. Too many workers in this nation reach retirement age without the savings they need. In fact, about 50 percent of households are “at risk” of not having enough to maintain their living standards in retirement.
We need to do more to encourage workers to begin planning for retirement earlier. And we need to make saving easier.
Last Congress, we worked together on a bipartisan basis to do just that by enacting the SECURE Act, one of the most significant retirement bills to become law in over a decade.
Thanks to the SECURE Act, 4 million more Americans are now able to save for retirement through their employers, and as many as 700,000 new retirement accounts will be formed.
And last year, we built on this progress with the passage into law of my legislation, the Butch Lewis Act. After years of fighting for a solution to the multiemployer pension crisis, the Butch Lewis Act saved multiemployer pension plans from insolvency and secured the financial futures of over a million workers and retirees who have always played by the rules and made responsible savings decisions.
But more work needs to be done. And that’s why I’m pleased that H.R. 2954, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022, is before us today.
This bipartisan legislation will expand automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans by requiring 401(k), 403(b), and SIMPLE plans to automatically enroll participants upon becoming eligible, with the ability for employees to opt out of coverage. Expansion of automatic enrollment will significantly increase participation in retirement savings at work.
H.R. 2954 also enhances the start-up credit, making it easier for small businesses to sponsor a retirement plan. And the legislation increases the required minimum distribution age to 75 and indexes the catch-up contribution limit for IRAs. These changes will make it easier for American families to prepare for a financially secure retirement.
And on a related note, I think it’s important to highlight that U.S. defined contribution plans have created a unique reservoir of capital for the innovation economy. Retirement plans are investing in areas such as tech, financial services, digital commerce, and biotech. This means workers’ retirement assets are directly tying middle class workers to our national innovation economy. That’s a win-win for all of us.
I am proud that Ranking Member Brady and I were able to work together on a bipartisan basis to develop this important legislation. Our efforts have resulted in an excellent product that has broad support from organizations representing diverse interests including retirees, charitable organizations, financial services providers, police officers, small businesses, and employers. The list of specific supporters is too long to read here; but some highlights include AARP, Edward Jones, and the American Red Cross.
Let’s work together to expand further savings in this country. I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation and I reserve the balance of my time.