New Portman-Cardin Retirement Security Legislation Receives Widespread Praise

June 7, 2021 | Portman Difference

Recently, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the bipartisan Retirement Security & Savings Act (S. 1770), a broad set of reforms designed to strengthen Americans’ retirement security. The bill addresses 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, including 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. 

Numerous national stakeholders have stepped forward to voice their support for this landmark piece of legislation, including the following:

“AARP, on behalf of our 38 million members and all older Americans nationwide, appreciates your bipartisan efforts to improve retirement savings opportunities through the introduction of the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021. While Social Security continues to be the bedrock of retirement income for most American workers and their families, individuals want and need additional retirement income sources. Your bipartisan work would make several important improvements to current law….We look forward to continuing to work with you to enact legislation to help every American adequately save and plan for retirement.” said Bill Sweeney, Senior Vice President Government Affairs, AARP, in a letter of support.

“Finseca is committed to advancing the cause that serves as the inspiration behind our name, Financial Security for All,” said Marc Cadin, CEO, Finseca. “We are incredibly grateful to Senators Cardin and Portman for their long partnership and relentless efforts to help more Americans save for retirement, expand access to those who currently don’t have coverage, and maximize security and flexibility when someone does retire. These are noble causes and must be fought for, especially on the heels of the pandemic.”

“Senator Cardin and Senator Portman’s leadership comes at a critical time for retirement savers. During the pandemic, many people had to tap their retirement savings early to make ends meet. Others struggle to save while providing for their families and paying off student loans and other debts,” said Susan K. Neely, President and CEO, American Council of Life Insurers. “The Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021 builds on the current retirement security system to help more Americans access the tools they need to not only boost their savings but ensure those savings last a lifetime….As leading providers of retirement security solutions, including annuities – the only financial product in the marketplace that can guarantee lifetime income, life insurers look forward to working with Senators Cardin and Portman and all members of Congress to advance solutions that will help Americans bolster their financial futures.”

“The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) applauds and supports the introduction of the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021. Now is exactly the right time for Congress to act on a bipartisan basis to help employers and their employees, many who are still addressing the economic challenges of the pandemic. The private sector, employer-sponsored plan system works well, and this legislation will improve upon that system. Senators Cardin and Portman believe there is strong bipartisan momentum to strengthen this system and will work with colleagues and stakeholders…to reach consensus on a final package. NAIFA looks forward to working with the Senate and House lawmakers to expand retirement savings and to make available the products and services, including guaranteed income in retirement, that retirees need to meet their own personal goals and objectives,said Kevin M. Mayeux, CEO, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

“We commend Senators Cardin and Portman for reintroducing their bipartisan retirement savings bill, which includes many commonsense changes to improve Americans’ ability to save for retirement. Among many other improvements, the bill encourages employers to adopt automatic contribution plans, simplifies disclosures, permits older workers to save more and stay invested longer, and expands opportunities for low-wage savers to receive tax credits for contribution to an IRA or savings plan. We urge the Senate to pass this bipartisan bill and then work with the House on a unified package of retirement-savings reforms,” said David Abbey, Deputy General Counsel for Retirement Policy, Investment Company Institute.

“We commend Senators Cardin and Portman for reintroducing their bipartisan retirement savings bill, which includes many common-sense changes to current law that improve individuals' ability to save for retirement,” said George Riedel, head of U.S. Intermediaries at T. Rowe Price“For the benefit of the millions of Americans who save and invest for their retirement, we urge the U.S. Senate to pass this bill and then work with members of the House of Representatives to agree on comprehensive bipartisan retirement savings legislation that can swiftly pass both chambers of Congress and be signed into law.”

“Senators Cardin and Portman are longtime retirement security champions for America’s workers and retirees, and IRI enthusiastically supports this legislation,” said Wayne Chopus, Insured Retirement Institute President & CEO. “Their leadership in advancing common-sense, bipartisan policies that expand access to workplace retirement plans and increase access to guaranteed lifetime income options will help individuals and families build their nest eggs and better prepare for their retirement years.”

“The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, (WISER), a 25 year nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving the financial lives and retirement savings of average women. We commend the leadership of Senators Cardin and Portman for their reintroduction of the Retirement Security and Savings Act. We appreciate the inclusion of a most important provision -- the expansion of the Saver's Credit by making it refundable and directing the Treasury to increase awareness of the Credit. The Credit will make a significant impact on millions of moderate and low income workers who will use this incentive to increase their retirement savings,” said Cindy Hounsell, President of WISER.  

“The Church Alliance appreciates the ongoing support Senators Cardin and Portman 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 for Fixed Annuities enthusiastically supports the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021 proposed by Senators Ben Cardin and Rob Portman. We commend these Senators for their unwavering bipartisan efforts to build opportunities for retirement security for American workers, especially as our country is recovering from the financial hardships of the pandemic. This legislation comprises a series of policy provisions that will facilitate greater savings, and it accomplishes a significant focus for NAFA members — managing longevity risks by providing predictable lifetime income options and extending the required minimum distribution age to 75,” said Chuck Di Vencenzo, CEO of the National Association for Fixed Annuities (NAFA).

“When it comes to hard earned retirement savings, every fire fighter deserves to be treated fairly. Sadly, private sector fire fighters are forced to pay a penalty when accessing their savings early. These penalties- and that is what they are- do not apply to our public sector brothers and sisters. All fire fighters perform dangerous, life-saving work, yet they are not treated equally. There should be no second-class fire fighters. Each of us should be allowed access to our retirement savings. I thank Senator Cardin and Senator Portman for their recognition of this unnecessary disparity, applaud their efforts, and fully support the Retirement Security and Savings Act,” said Edward A. Kelly, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters.

“We thank [Senators Portman and Cardin] for another tremendous leap forward with the reintroduction of the Retirement Security and Savings Act. This legislation would dramatically increase retirement security, especially among employees of small businesses. These businesses and their employees have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and this legislation would give them and others the ability to rebuild and strengthen their retirement savings,” said Michelle Kelley, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, LPL Financial.

“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. ICMA-RC appreciates your longstanding efforts to make it easier for more Americans to save for retirement and for working to advance the bipartisan ideas in the Retirement Security and Savings Act,” said Angela Montaz, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, ICMA Retirement Corporation.

“As a leading provider of retirement plans in the not-for-profit community, TIAA strongly supports [Senators Portman and Cardin’s] efforts to further improve and modernize the private retirement system. Further, TIAA applauds the continued bipartisan leadership and unwavering dedication you each have shown over the years to helping ensure a secure retirement for millions of Americans. The RSSA is especially important as it builds upon the enactment of the SECURE Act in 2019 and lends additional momentum to the Securing a Strong Retirement Act, the comprehensive retirement proposal that recently passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee,” said Douglas Chittenden, Executive Vice President and Head of TFS Client Relationships, TIAA.

“As the country responds to the challenges it faces, it is important to continue our work on enhancing retirement security. Retirement savings plays a critical role in helping workers and their families achieve financial security and supports economic and job growth. As we build our economy back from the pandemic, part of that effort needs to include even greater attention to the role of retirement programs that have been jeopardized by that crisis and were at risk for many Americans even before the pandemic. We commend [Senators Portman and Cardin] on the introduction of this bipartisan bill, which includes many priorities for the retirement community and the Council,” said Lynn D. Dudley, Senior Vice President, Global Retirement and Compensation Policy, American Benefits Council.

“As the leading provider of workplace retirement plans in the United States, we understand the critical role workplace plans play in Americans’ retirement security, alongside individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and other personal savings vehicles. The Retirement Security & Savings Act includes numerous enhancements to the private retirement system that will encourage more small businesses to offer plans and expand access to workers without coverage. We applaud [Senators Portman and Cardin’s] efforts and are eager to assist in getting this legislation enacted,” said Kevin Barry, President, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments.

“The National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA) is pleased to endorse the Retirement Security and Savings Act. This broad legislation would make numerous meaningful reforms to the retirement system,” said Josh Luskin, NAGDCA President.

“Vanguard is pleased to support [Senators Portman and Cardin’s] bipartisan legislation, the Retirement Security and Savings Act, which would benefit retirement savers by allowing for greater choice in investments, improving participant decision making, and simplifying retirement plan administration,” said John James, Managing Director, Institutional Investor Group, The Vanguard Group Inc.

“The passage of the SECURE Act in 2019 was a tremendous step forward in removing some of the obstacles people experience when saving for retirement. The Retirement Security & Savings Act (RSSA) is a significant next step that will help many more Americans take control of their financial futures and create the conditions needed for a happy and dignified retirement,” said John L. Carter, President and Chief Operating Officer, Nationwide Financial.

“The RSSA has great potential to significantly improve retirement security for middle-class Americans, particularly by increasing their access to guaranteed lifetime income. From the CAI’s perspective, 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, and clarify the substantially equal periodic payment rules for annuities are particularly important. These changes have been long sought by the CAI, and we truly appreciate your great work in bringing them one step closer,” said Bryan W. Keene and Mark E. Griffin, Counsel to the Committee of Annuity Insurers.

“Senators Portman and Cardin, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds both of you for your dedication to improving America’s retirement system. The Retirement Security and Savings Act is yet another example of your bipartisan work to expand coverage, increase savings and secure retirement income by strengthening our current employer-provided retirement system. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also appreciates your efforts to ease outdated administrative burdens that only add costs to the plans, and instead your focus on providing participants information to will help them in understanding and securing their retirement needs, especially as Americans emerges from the pandemic,” said Chantel L. Sheaks, Vice President, Retirement Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The last year has seen tremendous upheaval in our country and its impact on Americans’ employment and financial situation has been significant. Weathering this crisis has been of paramount importance; however, we must also consider the long-term impact this crisis has had on retirement savings. As such, [Senators Portman and Cardin’s] legislation would significantly improve the financial standing of many workers,” said David Ireland, Global Head of Defines Contribution, State Street Global Advisors.