Four senators introduced a package of bipartisan legislation Tuesday intended to boost Americans’ retirement savings and help small businesses set up retirement plans.
The four bills — which contain policies consistent with recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings — were introduced by Sens Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Todd Young, R-Ind.
The senators said in a joint statement that the package of bills would “make needed reforms to improve retirement security for individuals and families, especially as the costs of health care, education, homeownership and other expenses have continued to rise.”
The bills would:
- Help workers set up short-term savings accounts to help with financial emergencies;
- Give small employers more flexibility when setting up 401(k)s for their employees;
- Allow filers to save a portion of their tax refund for “rainy day” or long-term savings; and
- Make it easier for savers to auto-enroll into long-term savings plans and more quickly escalate their savings.
The senators note that more than one-third of full-time employees do not have access to a workplace retirement plan.
Projections also show that 44% of baby boomers and Gen Xers risk running short of funds for retirement. Also, 40% of American adults would be unable to come up with $400 for an emergency expense without borrowing money or selling a possession.
Cotton said that legislation “will help lighten the burden Arkansas small businesses face in offering retirement plans to their employees.”
Heitkamp added that the senators’ “goal is to invest in workers throughout their lives by making sure they are able to save for retirement now so they will be set up for success in later years. That just makes sense. Our work on these bills shows a bipartisan commitment to improving economic security for workers and families, and I hope we can move them forward.”
Booker added that “as everyday expenses — from drug prices to childcare to college tuition — continue to rise, these targeted, bipartisan bills are, together, an important step to providing more financial security for working families.”