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Bonamici, Crowley Encourage Retirement Savings Plans

May 18, 2017
Press Release

Legislation Comes Day After President Overturned Regulations Supporting Innovative State, Municipal Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC [05/18/17] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) introduced legislation to give states and cities the authority to create and run retirement savings programs for workers in the private sector who do not have plans through their employers.

Across the country, 40 million private sector workers do not have access to retirement savings plans at their jobs. Several states – including Oregon, California, Connecticut, Maryland, and Illinois – have developed innovative solutions that will help more workers save for their retirement. New York City and other municipalities have expressed interest in developing these plans as well. These plans administered by states or cities are designed to lessen the burden on small businesses that want to give their employees options to save for retirement.

“There is a growing retirement security crisis threatening millions of Americans and jeopardizing their ability to retire with dignity,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, a leader on the House Workforce Committee. “We should be supporting states like Oregon that have created innovative programs to help workers save for retirement and carry their savings from job to job. Our legislation simply clarifies federal law so plans administered by states or cities can give more workers the opportunity to save for a secure retirement.”

Bonamici and Crowley introduced the Preserve Rights of States and Political Subdivisions to Encourage Retirement Savings (PROSPERS) Act to clarify when retirement savings plans designed by states and cities comply with federal law, and to encourage and provide guidance to states and cities that are interested in developing similar plans to help workers save for retirement.

“With one-third of American workers not saving for retirement and private-sector pensions dwindling, the retirement security picture in the U.S. is bleak. We should be doing everything in our power to give American workers the opportunity to save for retirement,” said Congressman Joe Crowley, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus. “After Republicans and President Trump made it significant harder for working Americans to save, I’m proud to join Congresswoman Bonamici to ensure there are no barriers for workers to save their own money, in their own accounts, for their own retirement.”

On Wednesday, President Trump signed legislation to block Obama-era Department of Labor regulations that clarified the establishment of state-sponsored retirement savings programs and provided guidance for those already in existence. Bonamici led the opposition in the House to protect the Obama-era regulation. The Department of Labor regulation clarified that states and localities were able to implement voluntary retirement savings plans while still complying with federal law.

Earlier this month, Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced similar legislation in the Senate. You can read a summary of the PROSPERS Act here.