Several members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee joined Tuesday to unveil a bill that could encourage individuals to buy lifetime retirement income annuities.[@@]

The bill, H.R. 4849, would “translate a lifetime of savings into a guaranteed lifetime of earnings,” by giving workers an incentive to supplement Social Security and Medicare with another, private income stream, according to Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., one of the bill’s 4 sponsors.

The other sponsors are Reps. John Tanner, D-Tenn., Phil English, R-Pa., and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio.

Tubbs Jones and others who spoke Tuesday at a press conference held to launch the bill warned about the risk that the baby boomers will outlive their retirement assets.

“People think they’ve saved enough money when they haven’t,” Tubbs Jones said. “What makes this problem so urgent now is that the size of the retiring population will soon explode.”

H.R. 4849 would exclude half of an annuity’s annual payout from taxation, with a maximum exclusion of $20,000. For typical middle-income taxpayers, those in the 25% tax bracket, the bill would save $5,000 per year, English said.

The chance of the bill passing this year is “very small, essentially zero,” Johnson acknowledged. But changing the tax code often takes years, and she and the other sponsors of H.R. 4849 hope to get their bill into a package of pension system reforms supported by Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Johnson said.