This week, I had the opportunity to join the American Retirement Association in Washington, D.C. as the sole legislative delegate from the state of Tennessee. While in DC, our delegation had the opportunity to hear from agency leaders and staff about all of the initiatives being addressed inside the walls of their agency.
Most people don’t realize how many governmental agencies have a direct impact on both corporate retirement plans and individual retirement issues. We communicate regularly with the Dept. of Labor, the IRS, the Dept. of Treasury, the Social Security Administration, the SEC, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration.
As one might imagine, with that many agencies involved, there is also an abundance of proposed and executed legislation that makes its way through the halls of Congress every session. Because of that, we also had the opportunity this week to meet directly with members of Congress.
Here are just a few of the legislative issues I had the chance to discuss with Congressional leaders this week on the Hill:
- Secure Act 2.0 Corrections and Revisions – We knew that when 93 new retirement provisions were enacted as law in December of last year, there would need to be many revisions and corrections. Congress and agency partners are now in that process, which could take some time. We don’t anticipate any revisionary legislation before early next year due to the full agenda already slated for this year’s sessions.
- Current State Of Today’s Employee Base And Retirees – I was able to have a very candid conversation with a Congressman about the current state of employee savings and people who are entering retirement. We know we have a retirement savings crisis in our country, so these discussions revolve around ways we can increase coverage and savings rates for today’s workers and future retirees.
- We Oppose the “Retirement Savings For Americans” Act – In addition to Secure Act 2.0, there is legislation that was presented to create a Federal retirement savings system. We oppose this for many reasons. First, we believe in the power of the private retirement system. This legislation would directly compete with that, and, in our opinion, do more harm than good. We also believe that the social security system needs to be fixed before any other Federal programs are introduced.
- Update On State-Run IRA Programs – Currently, there are 19 states who have enacted state-run IRA programs of some form or another. We anticipate this number to grow rapidly over the next few years. For this reason, we wanted to discuss the nuances of these programs so that we can better understand the best way to advocate for states as these programs are rolled out in the future.
These are just a few of the things that we discussed with leaders in Washington this week. All of these discussions center on the fact that we need to increase coverage and savings rates so that people will have access to a version of retirement that allows them to live comfortably.
I don’t believe that more government is the answer. However, what I do know is that financial markets and products are heavily regulated, the government will always be involved, and we can do our best to partner with the government to push legislation that benefits the American worker and retiree. I am grateful to be able to play a small part in that process.