BALTIMORE – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and a champion for retirement security in both the Senate and House of Representatives, lauded President Barack Obama’s effort to spotlight the need to ensure that more Americans have the ability to save for retirement. Senator Cardin issued the following statement in response to the president’s plans to include detailed plans on retirement security in his upcoming FY2017 budget.
“Encouraging retirement savings for American families is an issue of critical importance, especially when it comes to our most vulnerable, low-income households and individuals. I have focused a good part of my career trying to make it easier for Americans to save more for retirement. I thank President Obama for using his budget to reinforce previous successes and to highlight additional work that can be done.
“Most U.S. households are simply ill-prepared for retirement. Many are struggling in the current economy, but even those who are managing to set aside some funds give too little, invest poorly, or withdraw funds early. These behaviors leave households, particularly low- and middle-income households, with insufficient savings to finance adequate living standards post-retirement.
“Unfortunately, though the problem is clear, there is no single, straightforward solution. We must work to shore up many different areas of our retirement policy — coverage, savings accumulation and distribution — so that American households of all income levels can enjoy their later stages of life without enduring significant financial hardships. I am gratified that the president has recognized this problem and has put forth some thoughtful solutions.
“Congress should follow the president’s lead in making retirement security a priority. We have set aside partisan differences before to strengthen retirement security in this country for low-income households. Senator Portman and I did so when we were both in the House of Representatives. Among several other changes, we created the Saver’s Credit, a tax incentive that has helped millions of low- and middle-income families save for retirement.
“Going forward, we also need to provide additional incentives for families to save and plan for a secure retirement that lasts throughout their lifetimes – for instance, by making it easier for businesses to offer their employees retirement plans, by improving the Saver’s Credit and making it refundable, and by providing lifetime income options for those who do save, so they don’t risk outliving their retirement savings.
“Congress may have some differences with the president on individual initiatives, but our mutual goal is to ensure a financially secure and dignified retirement for all Americans.”