Press Release

May 20, 2019
Newly Introduced Cardin-Portman Retirement Bill Receives Widespread Praise

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and introduced new legislation – the Retirement Security & Savings Act – which received widespread praise from key stakeholders that support bipartisan reforms to help Americans save more for retirement. Here’s what key stakeholders are saying about the new Portman-Cardin retirement security legislation: 

“For many years, retirement policy legislation has enjoyed a tradition of bipartisanship, and Senators Portman and Cardin have been leaders in this regard,” said Lynn Dudley, Senior Vice President, Global Retirement and Compensation Policy, American Benefits Council. “The American Benefits Council has been privileged to work with the Senators on their many retirement policy achievements over more than 20 years. This new legislation follows their practice of thoughtful, balanced and practical measures to enhance retirement security.  The bill would serve plan sponsors and participants alike, by (1) expanding coverage, (2) facilitating greater savings, including through enhancement of automatic enrollment, and (3) reducing plan costs, including simplifying the mechanics of correcting inadvertent errors. We thank the Senators for the opportunity to have identified aspects of retirement law that merit reform and improvement.  We strongly support this bill and look forward to working with its authors as the bill moves through the legislative process.”

“We applaud provisions in the bill that will improve the retirement security of today’s workers,” said David Certner, Legislative Counsel and Policy Director, AARP. “In particular, we support the bill’s extension of retirement plan coverage to part-time workers, which will significantly improve retirement savings options for millions of uncovered workers.  In addition, we support the bill’s expansion of the existing SAVERS’ tax credit and making it refundable, which will help millions of low and modest income savers, and increase retirement savings for those least able to save.”

“The U.S. Chamber looks forward to working with Senators Portman and Cardin on this bipartisan bill that expands coverage, increases savings and secures retirement income by strengthening our current employer-provided retirement system,” said Chantel Sheaks, Executive Director of Retirement Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The U.S. Chamber applauds efforts to ease the administrative burdens employers face related to outdated and unhelpful notices, while ensuring participants receive information that actually will help them in securing their retirement needs.”

“Senators Portman and Cardin have been leaders in retirement policy for over a decade, and we applaud their efforts to put forward an innovative, bipartisan package that could materially improve the retirement security of millions of Americans. As co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings, we were particularly pleased to see that this legislation includes provisions recommended by the Commission to enhance the Saver’s Credit and remove burdensome distribution requirements for those with limited retirement assets. If passed, this bill would provide important relief to many present and future retirees who may struggle to make ends meet in retirement,” said former Senator Kent Conrad and the Honorable James B. Lockhart III of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

“We applaud Senators Portman and Cardin for their bipartisan efforts to increase retirement savings for American workers,” said Dave Gray, Head of Workplace Retirement Solutions for Fidelity Investments. “This bill would improve retirement security by expanding access to retirement plans, reducing costs for small businesses and streamlining disclosures.”

“We commend Senators Portman and Cardin for introducing a bipartisan bill that includes so many common-sense changes to current law that improve individuals’ ability to save for retirement.  Among many other things, it encourages sponsors to adopt automatic contribution plans with higher contribution rates, simplifies disclosures, and allows individuals saving through large 403(b) plans to enjoy the same lower costs that participants in larger 401(k) plans enjoy through the use of collective trusts,” said Robert Higginbotham, head of Global Distribution at T. Rowe Price. “For the benefit of the millions of Americans who save and invest for their retirement, we urge Congress to clear the way for the passage of this important bill.”

“Many Americans are living 20 years, 30 years or longer in retirement and face the real possibility of outliving their savings,” said Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers. “The Retirement Security and Savings Act addresses this challenge by making meaningful changes that provide more choices for people to secure lifetime income in retirement.”

“Based on my experience working with clients in Zanesville, Ohio for nearly 20 years, I believe that this bill is a great example of our elected officials doing the right thing by helping Americans save for a secure retirement.  The bill would stop forcing retirement savers to take distributions at age 70 1/2, replacing that age with 75.  The bill will also help small business owners establish a retirement plan by giving them a bigger tax credit to cover their plan-related expenses.  This is exactly what is needed to broaden retirement coverage.  I appreciate Senator Portman’s leadership on this legislation and look forward to passage of this bill, which would do so much good for retirement savers,” said Scott Barr, an advisor for Edward Jones in Zanesville, Ohio.

“Senators Portman and Cardin have taken the lead in offering legislative reforms to help provide American workers with a more secure retirement. Their proposal would encourage higher savings rates, expand coverage, promote important lifetime income options and reduce administrative burdens.  We look forward to working with them to achieve these critical reforms,” said Edmund F. Murphy III, President & CEO, Empower Retirement.

“The Insured Retirement Institute enthusiastically supports the legislation introduced by Senators Portman and Cardin,” said Wayne Chopus, President & CEO, Insured Retirement Institute. “This effort demonstrates their continued leadership to advance common-sense, bipartisan policies to help Americans to achieve their retirement goals. The measures contained in the bill are a positive step forward towards expanding access to workplace retirement plans and increasing access to guaranteed lifetime income options, all of which will help Americans better prepare for their retirement years.”

“On behalf of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), a 23 year nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and advocacy to improve the financial lives and retirement savings of average women, we commend the reintroduction of the Retirement Security & Savings Act to help increase retirement savings and to improve access to workplace plans,” said M. Cindy Hounsell of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER). “We are heartened to find in the legislation the inclusion of two very important provisions designed to help moderate income Americans save for retirement: The expansion of the Saver’s Credit will allow more workers to save (and save more) and the inclusion of a proposal to allow long-term part-time employees to participate in workplace retirement plans will especially improve access for women who are twice as likely as men to work part-time.  Both of these provisions will provide important incentives to workers but especially for women and hopefully help them to take advantage and narrow the gender retirement savings gap.”

“Vanguard applauds the continued bipartisan leadership Senators Portman and Cardin are providing to expand retirement savings coverage, improve retirement savings levels, and modernize retirement plan administration. We look forward to working with them and fellow lawmakers to advance public policy solutions designed to provide families the best chance for retirement savings success,” said Martha King, Vanguard Managing Director and Head of Vanguard Institutional Investor Group.

“The Church Alliance has appreciated the ongoing support Senators Portman and Cardin have demonstrated for the retirement security of those who serve faith communities,” said Church Alliance Chair and CEO of Concordia Plan Services James Sanft. “We are pleased to see provisions included in the Retirement Security & Savings Act that would set retirement plans on even footing with individual retirements accounts.”

“The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators enthusiastically endorses the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2019, introduced by Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin,” said NAGDCA President Cindy Rehmeier. “We especially appreciate that Senators Portman and Cardin have incorporated a number of policy ideas into the bill that NAGDCA has endorsed as legislative priorities. We applaud them for their long history of bi-partisan leadership in retirement policy, and their support for provisions beneficial to state and local government retirement plans and their participants.” Rehmeier is also the Manager of Defined Contribution Plans for the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS).”

“The Retirement Security and Savings Act recognizes the cost and compliance burdens imposed on pension and retirement plans as well as the student loan debt crisis.  The bill importantly includes numerous proposals that address these challenges and support employers in their efforts to provide critical benefits to their employees, retirees, and families,” said Aliya Robinson, Senior Vice President for Retirement and Compensation Policy at the ERISA Industry Committee.

“Too often, families enter retirement unprepared. The Retirement Security & Savings Act wisely addresses all phases of the retirement preparedness challenge,” said Kirt Walker, President and COO of Nationwide Financial Services. “I look forward to working with Sens. Portman and Cardin to help this thoughtful bipartisan proposal become law.”

“We thank Senators Portman and Cardin for their leadership in shaping our country’s retirement savings policies, said Jim Matheson, CEO, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The Retirement Security and Savings Act will enable electric co-ops to provide better information to their employees on options for a secure retirement.”

“We want to thank Senators Portman and Cardin and their respective staffs for the tremendous efforts they put into the retirement legislation they plan to introduce this week,” said the Committee of Annuity Insurers. “The bill has great potential to significantly improve retirement security for middle-class Americans, particularly by increasing their access to guaranteed lifetime income.  From the perspective of our client the Committee of Annuity Insurers, the provisions of the bill that would remove barriers for life annuities under the required minimum distribution rules, enact important reforms for qualifying longevity annuity contracts, facilitate annuity portability, and clarify the substantially equal periodic payment rules for annuities are particularly important.  These changes have been long sought by the Committee, and we truly appreciate your great work in bringing them one step closer.”

“On behalf of NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, I applaud Senators Rob Portman and Ben Cardin for their leadership in crafting the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2019. This legislation will help millions of American’s save for retirement and emphasizes the importance of narrowing the considerable savings gap that currently exists, while addressing the fact that increasing longevity continues to challenge our current retirement programs. In particular, I commend the Senators for their recognition of the importance of guaranteed lifetime income through the inclusion of enhanced annuity savings and payout options. NAFA looks forward to working in a bipartisan effort to secure its passage,” said Chuck Di Vencenzo, CEO of the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA).

“TIAA applauds the continued bipartisan leadership and unwavering dedication of Senators Portman and Cardin to helping ensure a secure retirement for millions of Americans.  We especially appreciate the emphasis their legislation puts on the importance of lifetime income, a vital piece to solving today’s retirement security challenges,” said Lori Dickerson Fouché, CEO, TIAA Financial Solutions.

“I know from over 30 years of advising investors throughout Maryland that this bill would help so many people achieve a more secure retirement. My small business clients face significant cost challenges in adopting a retirement plan, and this bill would directly address those challenges with enhanced tax credits targeted at the businesses that most need help. And I was very pleased to see that the bill will allow businesses to fix inadvertent retirement plan errors without a fee or formally involving the IRS. My clients do everything that they can to comply and want to do the right thing. This bill will let them to do that in a simple painless way,” said Larry Leitch, an advisor for LPL Financial in Maryland.

“Senators Portman and Cardin have introduced a bipartisan bill that will significantly improve retirement security for all Americans,” said Ron O’Hanley, State Street President and CEO. “This bill will expand coverage, create incentives for small businesses, and remove barriers to securing guaranteed lifetime income. We have long-argued reforms such as these are necessary in order to dramatically reduce the number of people who are at risk of outliving their savings in retirement.”

“Saving for retirement through an employer retirement savings plan is the optimal method of savings for workers. However, unnecessary administrative complexities and restrictions continue to serve as a disincentive for employers to offer, and employees to maximize savings in, the plans. Help is needed from lawmakers. We believe that the bill introduced by Senators Portman and Cardin would deliver exactly the type of help that is needed by reducing complexity and restrictions, and providing enhanced tax credits and other incentives to help cover costs and increase investment in the plans. We applaud the leadership of Senators Portman and Cardin and look forward to helping them move this bill forward,” said Jeanne de Cervens, Vice President & Director, Transamerica Federal Government Affairs.

We applaud your consistent leadership and commitment to enacting legislation that improves retirement security for Americans, said Kathryn Fulton, Head of U.S. Public Policy, BlackRock.  Your proposed legislation, The Retirement Security and Savings Act, advances solutions for many of the most pressing and challenging retirement savings issues.  We believe it should be an urgent priority for Congress to enact bipartisan legislation that makes it easier for Americans to plan for a secure retirement.”  

The International Association of Fire Fighters said, “Regardless of the employer, all firefighters deserve to be treated equally when it comes to their retirement savings, but that’s not the case for so many men and women around the country today. First responders in the private sector cannot access their retirement savings without penalty until the age of 59 ½, while their public sector counterparts can do so at age 50.  While both groups are asked to do the same dangerous job, only one is denied proper access to necessary retreatment savings.  Senator’s Cardin and Portman plan to right this wrong as part of the Retirement Security and Savings Act, and the IAFF strongly supports this effort.”

“Enactment of the Retirement Security and Savings Act would significantly benefit millions of Americans, including public sector employees, who work hard every day to prepare for their retirement,” said Angela Montez, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Chief Legal Officer ICMA-RC. “ICMA-RC strongly supports your provisions to expand access to access lower-cost collective investment funds and streamline contribution requirements for government workers in 457(b) plans.”

“As the owner of 73 hair salons and as a passionate advocate for my 700, predominantly female employees, I am grateful for the Retirement Security and Savings Act introduced by Senator Portman and Senator Cardin.  It is good to see that Congress understands the real world of small businesses here in Ohio, as well as across the country.  My small business has offered a 401k benefit since the days we opened our first set of doors nearly 25 years ago.  The participation has not been as strong as I would like it to be, and we are in the process of establishing a financial health program for our employees that will provide a personal approach for each with an emphasis on budgeting for their retirement.  As I read through the elements of the Retirement Security and Savings Act, I am certain that its passage will make a significant impact on the ability of small businesses to focus on an affordable way to help their employees prepare over time for retirement.  The incentives are very focused on the exact challenges and barriers that we are dealing with every day.   My goal is to have at least 90% participation in our retirement plan by the end of 2021.  This Act, if passed, will have a significant impact on my ability to reach that goal.”Clara Osterhage, R L O Inc/Great Clips, Dayton, Ohio, and a member of the National Federation of Independent Business