Portman Op-Ed in The Hill: The Time is Now to Pass the SECURE Act

November 26, 2019 | Portman Difference

In the The Hill, Senator Portman wrote an op-ed discussing the importance of passing the SECURE Act to help more Americans achieve a secure retirement. The SECURE Act includes a set of reforms designed to help more Americans save for their retirement, including a number of incentives designed to encourage small businesses to offer retirement plans to their workers as well as an increase in the age for required minimum distributions from 70 and a half to 72. The SECURE Act passed the House of Representatives in May with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 417-3. That’s why Portman is urging his Senate colleagues to pass this legislation as soon as possible. Several components of Portman’s bipartisan Retirement Security & Savings Act, which he introduced with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), are included in the SECURE Act. The SECURE Act also includes Portman’s Retirement Security Preservation Act, which would reform pension nondiscrimination laws to prevent more than 400,000 Americans from having their pensions frozen through no fault of their own. Portman recently spoke on the Senate Floor urging his colleagues to pass this important legislation. 

In the op-ed, Portman writes: “The Secure Act passed the House nearly unanimously, and I know the support in the Senate can be just as strong. That’s why the time is now to pass this legislation and ensure that every American has the opportunity to save for a well-deserved retirement.” 

Excerpts of the op-ed can be found below and the full op-ed can be found at this link. 

The Secure Act Makes Critical Reforms to our Retirement System — Let's Pass it This Year

By Senator Rob Portman

The Hill

November 25, 2019 

Every hardworking American deserves the chance to have a comfortable retirement. But for far too many Americans it seems out of reach: a recent study by Northwestern Mutual found that two thirds of Americans believe they’ll outlive their retirement savings. 

People are right to be worried, because as a country we are not saving enough for retirement. A 2019 GAO report found that nearly half of all near-retirees over age 55 have no private retirement savings at all. 


Comprehensive retirement reform to address the challenges in the private retirement system should help small businesses provide workplace retirement plans, encourage employees to save, and make sure Americans can sustain their lives in retirement. Congress can and should address these issues to make it easier for smaller businesses, which will result in millions more Americans having peace of mind in retirement. The Secure Act, which passed the House of Representatives in May by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 417-3, accomplishes these reforms, and that’s why I’m urging my colleagues in the Senate to pass it swiftly. 


Another important reform the Secure Act helps older Americans put more aside for retirement by raising the age limit on the law that requires Americans to start depleting and paying taxes on their retirement savings. Currently, that age is set at 70 and a half, but there are many older Americans who want to keep working without having their retirement accounts drained. My dad was one of those people. He ran his small business well into his seventies, but all the while had to watch taxes eat into his retirement savings. 

To fix that, the Secure Act allows people to save for retirement tax-free until age 72, giving people more flexibility in when they begin their retirements. In addition, the bill changes the law to allow people over age 70 ½ to keep investing in their retirements for as long as they want so their nest eggs don’t have to stop growing. 


All these reforms are important first steps in delivering lasting improvements to our retirement system and strengthening retirement security for millions of Americans, but we can and should do more. That’s why I’ve introduced the Retirement Security and Savings Act with Sen. Cardin, which builds on the policies included in the Secure Act to further improve Americans’ opportunities to build retirement savings. This legislation includes major new reforms to allow individuals who have saved too little to set aside more for retirement, provide even more incentives for small businesses to offer retirement plans, expand access to retirement savings for low-income Americans, and provide more certainty and flexibility for Americans as they enter retirement. While I’m hopeful that we can pass this broader legislation soon, Congress shouldn’t pass on the chance to provide an immediate boost to the retirement security of the American people through the Secure Act. 

The Secure Act passed the House nearly unanimously, and I know the support in the Senate can be just as strong. That’s why the time is now to pass this legislation and ensure that every American has the opportunity to save for a well-deserved retirement.