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Secure Act Debate in Senate Derails Vote

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Debate over the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (Secure) Act hit a snag on the Senate floor on Thursday, ending without a vote.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, objected to considering amendments to Secure, including controversial provisions allowing 529 plan funds to be used for homeschooling as well as apprenticeship programs.

Murray requested that the House-passed version of Secure be brought up for consideration without amendment. Senators, however, balked at Murray’s request and discussion over Secure ended due to a lack of unanimous consent.

Late Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, put forth a “hotline” unanimous consent vote request for Secure, which the Senate failed to consider Wednesday.

Sen. Rob Portman, D-Ohio, said on the Senate floor on Thursday that “a live UC was tried. It was an attempt to get a vote on the Secure Act,” adding that he supported the five amendments offered by Republicans.

For the past five and a half months, Portman continued, “some of us have been trying to get this legislation done, and there have been concerns on both sides of the aisle. But we’re at a point now where we know, having raised this live UC, that we continue to have this stalemate. And after five and a half months, I think it’s time for us to move forward on these reforms.”

The deadline for an omnibus spending bill looms as the continuing resolution funding the government ends on Nov. 21. However, another continuing resolution to fund the government may dash any hopes of Secure’s passage this year.

There’s “bipartisan, bicameral support for attaching Secure” to a must-pass bill, specifically a spending bill, but Congress “is more likely to go with a continuing resolution” to fund the government through the end of the year, Judi Carsrud, NAIFA’s assistant vice president for government relations, told ThinkAdvisor in a previous interview.

— Related: McConnell Pushes for Immediate Secure Act Vote