Senior congressional staffers gathered at the second day of the annual Department of Labor (DOL) Speaks conference in National Harbor, Md., on Tuesday to discuss the legislative activities most pertinent to the retirement plan industry: addressing the small business tax bill, lifetime income options, fee disclosure, and auto-IRAs.
Brian Graff, executive director and CEO of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) in Arlington, Va., moderated the panel of senior congressional staffers from the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, and the House Education and Workforce Committee. Graff noted that on Wednesday the House planned to take up, and likely pass, the small business tax bill that just passed the Senate. The bill includes a provision allowing rollovers from 457, 403(b) and 401(k) plans into Roth IRAs as long as the assets remain as plan assets. Graff noted that this rollover option is currently only available to workers aged 59 1/2 . “We’ll have to see if [this age restriction] gets expanded,” he says.
On the heels of the recent Departments of Labor and Treasury’s hearing on lifetime income options in retirement plans, the panel also discussed the viability of lifetime income options. Graff asked panelists whether lifetime income options within retirement plans would be a focus for the next Congress. Gregory Dean, chief counsel on the Senate HELP Committee, responded that the while the discussion on lifetime income options was good, “where we go from here is a big question mark.” Indeed, Michael Kreps, counsel on the Senate HELP Committee, agreed that “there aren’t a whole lot of clear answers” on the viability of lifetime income options in retirement plans. However, he said, the “discussion is important and we’re watching the discussion closely” on the Hill.