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Schakowsky, Bonamici, Norcross introduce the Women’s Pension Protection Act

October 2, 2018
Press Release


Today, Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Chief Deputy Whip and Co-Chair of the Seniors Task Force, Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Vice Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Donald Norcross (D-NJ) reintroduced the Women’s Pension Protection Act. This bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), takes necessary and important steps to ensure that women are better prepared for retirement. After the bill’s introduction, the lawmakers released the following statements:


“Working families should be able to retire with financial security and dignity; unfortunately, women in Oregon and across the country still face systemic discrimination in the workforce that prevents them from saving enough money to retire,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “We know that women are likely to earn less than men over their lifetime, face lower wages, take on more caregiving responsibilities, and too often face poverty in retirement. This legislation will help address the increased risk of economic insecurity by providing meaningful tools for women to better prepare for retirement.”


“As we work to win full equality for women in America, we cannot overlook the retirement gap,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “Because they are much more likely to earn less than their male counterparts, women in America typically have less money saved up for retirement. The Women’s Pension Protection Act takes crucial steps toward closing that gap. It improves spousal access to retirement plans, makes more long-term and part-time workers eligible for retirement plans, and improves financial literacy. Coupled with our ongoing effort to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, this bill would go a long way in ensuring a secure retirement for American women. I am proud to once again join Senator Murray in this effort and to have Reps. Bonamici and Norcross by my side here in the House.”


“If we are going to ensure women have economic equality, opportunity, and security, we need to tackle the challenges they face in retirement in addition to those they face in the workforce,” said Senator Murray. “We have a lot to do to begin closing the retirement gap and making sure women are no longer more likely than men to face poverty in old age, and the Women’s Pension Protection Act does just that by offering solutions to some of the challenges that disproportionately impact women as they plan for their financial futures.”


“Right now, one in three Americans have less than $5,000 saved for retirement, which is clearly not enough – and we need to take action so hardworking Americans have the ability to retire with dignity. Women around the country are specifically facing undue barriers in the workplace and in preparing for their financial futures, and we have a package of solutions that will help level the playing field,” said Congressman Norcross, a member of the Joint Select Committee on Multiemployer Pensions. “I participated in the multiemployer pension system for 37 years, as both a rank-and-file worker and a negotiator. I know that millions of workers have earned their pensions and that we can take simple actions to make the system more equitable.”


The bill would strengthen consumer protections to safeguard retirement savings by extending protections to prevent one spouse from making decisions that could undermine a couple’s retirement resources without the other’s knowledge and consent. The bill will also improve access to retirement savings plans for long-term, part-time workers. The bill will establish a competitive grant program at the Department of Labor to help increase women’s financial literacy. The bill will also direct the Department to provide support to low-income women and survivors of domestic abuse seeking the retirement benefits they are entitled to following a divorce. You can read a copy of the bill here.


AARP, the National Women’s Law Center, the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, and the Pension Rights Center support the bill.


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