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Biden Budget Battle Complicates Secure Act 2.0 Timing

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What You Need to Know

  • The retirement bill will likely get a House vote this summer.
  • Secure Act 2.0 and/or related Senate legislation could be incorporated into another bill or bills.
  • Broader federal budget negotiations could affect the final version of the bill, lawyer Brad Campbell says.

While the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, also known as Secure Act 2.0, will likely get a House vote this summer, President Joe Biden’s just-released budget could affect when the bill will come up for a Senate vote and which Secure Act 2.0 provisions ultimately survive, according to Brad Campbell, partner at Faegre Drinker in Washington.

Campbell, a former head of the Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, said Thursday on the law firm’s Inside the Beltway webcast that it’s less clear when the Secure Act 2.0 — which passed the House Ways and Means Committee on May 5 — will receive a Senate vote as several retirement-related bills have also recently been floated.

“It is not clear whether they [lawmakers] intend to develop and move a bill independently, or to react to the Secure Act [2.0] when it comes over from the House,” Campbell told ThinkAdvisor.

Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, last week reintroduced S. 1770, the Retirement Security & Savings Act, which includes a few new provisions. The Portman-Cardin legislation could get rolled into the Secure Act 2.0.

What remains in flux, Campbell said, is whether Secure Act 2.0 and/or related Senate legislation “would be treated as a standalone bill or incorporated into another bill or bills moving through the Congress.”

A bill going through the budget reconciliation process, for instance, “would be an imperfect vehicle, as not all of the Secure Act [2.0] provisions likely would be eligible for inclusion, but it is possible that some of its provisions that directly affect revenue and spending could be attached,” Campbell said on the webcast.

The “much bigger set of tax issues under consideration from the Biden administration and in particular being negotiated in the Senate, and how some of that fares could have an impact on the Secure Act [2.0] as well, because as we look at getting into pay-fors and other tax provisions that could affect some of the provisions in the Secure Act [2.0] as well,” Campbell said.

There is “wide, bipartisan support for these [retirement-related] bills, and a variety of possible paths, but the mechanics of passing them are still somewhat murky,” Campbell added. “I remain fairly confident, however, that some version of the [Secure Act 2.0] legislation has a good chance of passing this year.”