News Article

Sens. Cardin, Portman Honored as 2021 ‘Champions of Retirement Security’
December 1, 2021


By: Brian Anderson

The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) today presented Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) with the IRI 2021 Champion of Retirement Security Award during a live virtual presentation in recognition of their leadership and efforts to enhance retirement security for America’s workers and retirees.

“We are honored to present Senator Ben Cardin and Senator Rob Portman with IRI’s 2021 Champion of Retirement Security Award,” said Wayne Chopus, IRI President and CEO. “Both senators are receiving this award for the second time, a testament to their long-standing commitment, advocacy, and leadership to advance policies that address the retirement anxiety felt by millions of America’s workers and retirees.”

Sen. Cardin and Sen. Portman have worked together for many years to champion bipartisan retirement security legislation. This year, they joined forces again to introduce the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021, which is more commonly referred to as SECURE 2.0.

Sen. Cardin is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is a Senate Committee on Finance member. Among his ongoing efforts to address retirement security, Cardin is particularly focused on providing more opportunities for small business employees to save for retirement by encouraging small business employers to offer workplace retirement options.

He has been working on retirement issues since he served in the House of Representatives to enact the 2006 Pension Protection Act. Sen. Cardin played a critical role in passing the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act in 2019 and continues today to work in a bipartisan fashion to advance additional retirement security legislation.

“It is an honor to receive the 2021 Champion of Retirement Security Award,” Sen. Cardin said. “I have spent my career working with Senator Portman to improve the retirement security system in this country. We can and must do more to ensure all Americans have access to the tools they need to live a dignified life in retirement. I want to thank the IRI leadership and team for presenting this award and for helping to advocate for my legislation with Senator Portman, the Retirement Security and Savings Act.”

Sen. Portman also serves on the Senate Committee on Finance and its Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy. He has authored and supported numerous bills to enhance retirement security during his many years of service in the House and Senate.

He was instrumental in negotiating the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) through the Senate Finance Committee, which eventually became the SECURE Act in 2019. While Sen. Portman has announced that he will retire from the Senate in January 2023, he remains committed to advancing additional, comprehensive retirement legislation in this session of Congress.

“I am pleased to accept IRI’s 2021 Champion of Retirement Security Award and appreciate their recognition of the work Senator Cardin and I continue to do in the retirement security space,” Portman said. “During my time in Congress, I have made strengthening America’s retirement system a top priority. Earlier this year, I again introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Cardin, which includes much-needed reforms to help Americans save more for retirement by allowing people who have saved too little to set more aside for their retirement, helping small businesses offer 401ks and other retirement plans, expanding access to retirement savings plans for low-income Americans without coverage, and providing more certainty and flexibility during Americans’ retirement years. We are working to advance this legislation early next year, and I urge my colleagues to join this effort so we can strengthen the retirement security of all Americans.”

“IRI and our members are thankful to Sen. Cardin and Sen. Portman for their commitment to advancing effective retirement security policies for our nation,” Chopus said. “We share that commitment and look forward to working with them to enact SECURE 2.0.”

IRI’s Chopus, incidentally, received an honor himself today as he was named among The Hill’s Top Lobbyists 2021.

The IRI Champion of Retirement Security Award was established in 2013 to recognize policymakers who work to enhance retirement security in the United States. In 2020, the award went to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) and original SECURE Act co-sponsor Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).