On Fox Business, Portman Discusses His Retirement Savings & Security Act, U.S.-China Trade Relations & Iran

May 21, 2019 | Portman Difference

In an interview with Fox Business’ After the Bell today, Senator Portman highlighted bipartisan legislation he introduced last week – the Retirement Security & Savings Act – which will help strengthen Americans’ retirement security by addressing four major opportunities in the existing retirement system: (1) allowing people who have saved too little to set more aside for their retirement; (2) helping small businesses offer 401(k)s and other retirement plans; (3) expanding access to retirement savings plans for low-income Americans without coverage; and (4) providing more certainty and flexibility during Americans’ retirement years.  The measure includes more than 50 provisions to accomplish these objectives.  Portman also discussed U.S.-China trade relations and U.S. policy concerning Iran.

Excerpts of his interview can be found below and a video can be found here:




“You’re absolutely right, among baby boomers only 48 percent are saving anything in a private retirement savings. That is a shocking number. That is my generation. Part of what we do in this legislation is we help baby boomers and others who are needing to quickly get more money into that nest egg to have a catch-up contribution. It will also help with regard to small businesses because, you’re right, we have done a lot to expand 401(k)s, some of my legislation with the same Senator, Ben Cardin, over the years has helped, but frankly among small businesses we still have a lot of people that don’t have access to a retirement plan. So, we help small businesses directly in a lot of ways, including having a tax credit, substantial new tax credit that helps small business offer a plan because it is kind of an expense, administrative cost, and liability, so this will help.

“Third is to help those people who are in retirement, as you say, and what we’re finding is, with people living longer this requirement that at age 70-and-a-half you have to start taking your money out of your 401(k) or IRA to start distributing it, and pay taxes on it under retirement is crazy. If you’re still working at age 70-and-a-half, you want to encourage that person to keep their retirement savings so that when they do retire at age 73 or 75 – and are likely to live by the way until age 90 now – that they have enough retirement savings, that they have that nest egg. We say, ‘Gosh it is expensive to do this because you have to find the offsets,’ but we say, ‘Let’s expand the age to 75, not 70-and-a-half.’ Then let’s say, if you have less than $100,000 in your retirement account there should be no minimum required distribution at all.”


“In the last four days we have good news for those of us who believe that we ought to have a level playing field across the world, but that we ought not to resort to tariffs. Rather, we want to have lower tariffs on both sides. One was the auto tariff decision where the president agreed to postpone for six months, at least, a decision on whether to impose additional tariffs under what’s called Section 232 on automobiles. You saw the market react favorably and more importantly to me, it’s important to Ohio because it would hurt the auto industry, in my view. Second, we saw the president say that with regard to the USMCA to replace the NAFTA agreement – that we would not keep steel and aluminum tariffs in place. That helps us get to an agreement. It helps us to get the votes here on Capitol Hill. That’s positive because now I think we have a real path forward to pass that legislation which will result in hundreds of thousands of new jobs in America, including by the way a lot more manufacturing jobs in my home state of Ohio. Those are two positive things. On the other side in terms of the tariffs, you’re right with regard to China, there seems to be some escalation of both the dialogue and also the tariffs potentially. The president already decided to increase from 10 to 25 percent on the second tranche of $200 billion worth of Chinese exports to us. We’ll see how that turns out. My view on that is pretty simple. We tried a lot of things to get China to abide by the international rules. It hasn’t worked, so tariffs may be the only tool we have right now to get them to the bargaining table and complete this agreement.”


“I think it was important to respond and I won’t reveal anything said in the classified briefing, but it is obvious, I think, to all Americans that the Iranians are starting to step up their activities either directly or through surrogates. We’ve seen these sabotage attacks on these cargo vessels. We’ve also seen a missile being shot into our compound in Iraq, in Baghdad. It is believed, again, in those cases these were surrogates of the Revolutionary Guard or Iran directly who were responsible. So, what we’re doing, is we’re increasing our presence in the region, not because we’re eager for a war but because we want to deter aggression, and keep us from falling into a war.”