Neal Floor Statement on GOP CRAs on Retirement Savings Programs

Feb 15, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) today spoke on the House Floor in opposition to resolutions that would block U.S. Department of Labor regulations related to state-run retirement programs:

(Remarks as prepared)

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the CRA resolutions we’re debating today that would block Labor Department regulations on state-run retirement programs.  Our country is in the midst of a retirement savings crisis.  To address this issue, we should work together to encourage retirement savings opportunities.  Instead the Republicans are doing the opposite by making it more difficult for states and cities to help middle class families save for retirement.

Let’s start with a history lesson.  In July 2007 – almost a decade ago – I introduced the Automatic IRA Act with my Republican Ways & Means colleague, Phil English.  That same year, Senators Bingaman and Smith introduced the companion bill on a bipartisan basis in the Senate.  Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation scholars jointly developed the auto IRA concept.  So conservatives and progressives came together on a common sense proposal to make it easier for working families to save. 

However, when you fast forward to today, I can’t find a single Republican to work with me on the auto IRA legislation.  And remember, this is a Heritage Foundation endorsed proposal, which isn’t the easiest endorsement for a Massachusetts Democrat!

Today American families struggle to prepare for retirement. And to make matters worse, 55 million Americans work for employers that do not offer a retirement plan.  That’s almost half of private sector workers age 18 to 64.

And because of Congress’ failure to act on my legislation and address the retirement savings crisis, many states implemented their own auto IRA programs based on my bill.  In fact, over 30 states have moved to implement or are considering a state-facilitated retirement savings program.

But today the Republicans want to block Labor Department guidance that provides clarity and flexibility to the states interested in launching an auto IRA program.  This is troubling.  If these resolutions become law, it would have a chilling effect on state efforts.  If the Republicans are looking for a single national effort, let’s work together to enact federal auto IRA legislation.  But in the interim, let’s not block the states from pursuing retirement savings solutions.

I encourage my colleagues to oppose these resolutions. My door is always open.  I encourage my Republican colleagues to join me on a bipartisan basis to develop policy to help make it easier for American families to save for retirement.