WASHINGTON- Today, Top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) kicked off a committee markup on the Securing a Strong Retirement (SECURE) Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill that will further improve workers’ long-term financial wellbeing.
- The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021, introduced today helps more Americans save for retirement at all stages of their career.
- According to retirement experts, the bill holds “tremendous promise” for working Americans, and will “make a number of improvements” to our nation’s retirement systems.”
- The bill builds upon the bipartisan SECURE Act of 2019, which was signed into law December 2019.
Full text of the legislation is available HERE.
The following are his remarks as delivered.
I want to thank Chairman Neal for holding this markup. I’m very pleased to be here today, a little more than two years after Chairman Neal and I worked together with our Committee Members to report the SECURE Act in March 2019, after which it became law later that same year.
Today’s markup is a testament to the progress we can make when we work in a bipartisan way to address the real needs of all Americans. Together, in this past session, we banned surprise billing for American families, we reformed the IRS for the first time in two decades, and we passed five coronavirus relief bills totaling $3.5 trillion dollars to help those hardest hit in the worst part the pandemic.
We also took a commonsense approach to the SECURE Act, which is part of the reason we were successful, and why we have the opportunity today to build on that foundation.
With more and more Americans relying on their 401(k) plans for their retirement, we eased administrative burdens to allow more job creators, mainly small businesses, to offer retirement plans for their workers.
Not only has the SECURE Act been good for American families, workers, and our economy, but it was passed and signed into law the old-fashioned way, from the Committee up.
We worked with Members across the aisle until we got a product that all Members could strongly agree on.
This is what the American people want and this is how they expect laws to be drafted. And I hope that it’s how we can approach the People’s business going forward.
Today, we are building on the tremendous success of the SECURE Act to help more Americans save for retirement at all stages of their career.
Thanks too to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Americans, families of four are saving $2,000 more each year, which helps them with their retirement. We saw record wage growth, more job opportunities, and a significant reduction, a historical reduction in poverty, all of which helps working families save for the future.
Now, Americans will be able to catch up on their savings as they get closer to retirement and will have greater control over their financial future.
The pandemic has interrupted many Americans’ plans to save for retirement.
According to a recent Pew Research study, half of U.S. adults reported that the pandemic has made it harder for them to achieve their long-term financial goals.
That’s why SECURE 2.0 is so important.
It promotes retirement savings earlier by automatically enrolling employees in their company’s 401(k) plan.
It allows employers to match their workers’ student loan repayments with contributions to their retirement plans.
It encourages small businesses to set up retirement plans for their workers, by fully offsetting the paperwork costs and providing a per-employee credit of up to $1,000 for employer matching contributions.
This bill will help Americans from all walks of life save for retirement.
It also contains more than 20 provisions in this bill sponsored or co-sponsored by Republican members of the Committee in stand-alone legislation.
This is a strong show of bipartisanship.
I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, as we advance and refine this bill, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, through the legislative process – in a bipartisan fashion – through the rest of this year.
Rep. Brady then highlighted crucial member contributions to the bill:
- Congressman Kelly contributed several provisions, including a new tax credit for small businesses with up to 50 employees that will offset the first $1,000 of employer matching contributions.
- Congressman Schweikert’s provision raises the amount late-career workers can contribute to “catch up” on their retirement savings, doubling it from $5,000 a year to $10,000 a year.
- Congressman LaHood’s provision supports employees paying down student loan debt by allowing employer matching contributions to a retirement plan.
- Congressman Wenstrup’s provision helps military spouses by providing a tax credit for small employers that make military spouses eligible for plan benefits.
- Another provision by Congressman Wenstrup reduces costs for retirees by cutting red tape on cost-efficient investments like exchange traded funds (ETFs).
- Congressman Estes and Congressman Kelly have also contibuted provisions that provide greater flexibility for retirees by raising the age for required minimum distributions to 75 over time and by reducing the penalty for failure to take those distributions from 50 percent to 25 percent, and if corrected, lower that penalty even further to 10 percent.
- Another provision from Congressman Kelly helps charities by expanding options for contributions from retirement accounts, so that people don’t face artificial limits to giving even while they’re in retirement.
- Congressman Smucker has a provision that stands up for survivors of domestic violence by exempting them from any penalty for taking “hardship withdrawals” from a retirement plan.
- Congressman Arrington offered a provision to modernize the law and protect business owners – especially women-owned businesses – from the application of outdated family attribution rules.
- Congressman Schweikert offered a provision that helps gig workers and independent contractors set up their own retirement accounts by expanding access to Solo 401(k)’s.
Thanks to these provisions, and many others, Americans will be able to build their retirement savings and have greater control over their financial future.