On Tuesday, U.S. Congressmen Richard Neal (D – Mass.) and Kevin Brady (R – TX) filed the bipartisan “Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020,” a major bill directed at helping more Americans save for their future. Neal chairs the important U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, while Brady is the committee’s former chair and ranking member on the Republican side.
According to a joint statement released by Neal and Brady, the new retirement legislation aims to accomplish the following:
- Promote earlier retirement saving by enrolling employees automatically in 401(k) plans newly offered by their companies;
- Create a new incentive for small businesses to offer retirement plans;
- Increase tax credits for contributions to a retirement plan or IRA;
- Expand retirement savings options by allowing groups of non-profits to join together to offer retirement plans to their employees;
- Offer individuals 60 and older more flexibility to set aside savings as they approach retirement;
- Increase the required minimum distribution age to 75;
- Allow individuals to pay down a student loan instead of contributing to a 401(k) plan and still receive an employer match in their retirement plan;
- Make it easier for military spouses to save for retirement;
- Allow more flexibility to make charitable gifts through IRAs;
- Allow taxpayers to avoid penalties for inadvertent errors managing an IRA that can lead to a loss of retirement savings;
- Protect retirees who unknowingly receive retirement plan overpayments; and
- Create a national online database of lost retirement accounts.
Unfortunately, the bill as filed does not address the federal Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which reduces many public employees’ Social Security benefits. This is despite the fact that both Chairman Neal and Ranking Member Brady have each filed separate bills that would repeal and replace the WEP. The Neal and Brady WEP bills, which are largely identical and both supported by ATPE, have been largely stalled despite having been filed over a year ago. There has been little advancement of non-emergency legislation this election year, as many are waiting to see which party will win control of the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and the White House.
ATPE and other members of the public education community, both in and outside of Texas, are calling on Neal and Brady to incorporate language from their WEP legislation into the Securing Strong Retirement Act of 2020. Doing so would finally give educators and other public servants impacted by the WEP the relief they deserve.