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Rep. Richard Neal (Photo: Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg)

Regulation and Compliance > Legislation

Secure Act 2.0: A Timeline

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Since passage of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (Secure) Act in 2019, lawmakers — chiefly House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal — have been steadfast in pushing a second batch of changes to retirement account rules.

The House passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022, known as Secure Act 2.0, on March 29. The huge retirement bill now moves to the Senate.

Political watchers expect the Senate committees on Finance and on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to mark up and pass their version of Secure 2.0 later this spring, likely in May or June.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate HELP Committee, plans to work with Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and their colleagues on a “bipartisan retirement package, which they are aiming to release later this spring,” a spokesperson for Murray told ThinkAdvisor in a recent email.

Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, told ThinkAdvisor that the lame-duck session after the midterm elections in early November “is probably the most likely time frame for when a bill could move on the Senate floor. It’s possible that an opportunity arises before then, but finding floor time is always a challenge.”

Many senators, Akabas said, “are eager to include provisions that offer solutions” to Americans’ retirement savings challenge.

Akabas pointed to legislation that will likely be included in the Senate’s version of Secure Act 2.0.

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Todd Young, R-Ind., co-sponsored the Strengthening Financial Security Through Short-Term Savings Accounts Act of 2021, which focuses on emergency savings. “I expect [it] to receive serious consideration for inclusion in the Senate version,” Akabas said.

The bill would “clarify regulations to allow employers to automatically enroll their workers into an emergency savings account alongside their retirement account,” Akabas explained.

Booker and Young have also co-sponsored the Retirement Security Flexibility Act of 2021, which “would make it easier for small businesses to offer well-designed retirement plans that incorporate important features like automatic enrollment,” Akabas said.

The bill allows “small businesses to bypass certain requirements if they design their plan in a way that ensures the benefits will be widely shared by their workforce,” he explained.

Some provisions in the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021, introduced by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and Ben Cardin, D-Md., will likely be included.

BPC has been “particularly supportive of one of its provision that would exempt individuals with less than $100,000 in retirement accounts” from required minimum distributions, Akabas said.

“I’d also like to see some provisions that help pay for the reforms in the bill,” Akabas added.

“The offsets on the House side mostly just change the timing of when revenue is collected (moving more funds over to Roth accounts, where taxes are paid up front),” he said.

Instead, Akabas said he’d “like to see the Senate look at placing a cap on the tax preference for retirement contributions — perhaps at $10 million,” which was recommended by BPC’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings.

“Wealthy individuals should always be able to save more money; they just shouldn’t be doing it on the taxpayer’s dime,” he said.

Here’s a timeline on the progress of Secure Act 2.0.

Pictured at top: Rep. Richard Neal (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg)