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An Opportunity to Protect Retirement Security

House Republicans are continuing an effort to roll back some of the most harmful rules and regulations finalized in the last days of the Obama administration. We’ve already taken steps to support small businesses and our Armed Forces and acted to rein in the federal role in education. So what’s next? Protecting the retirement security of workers.

For decades, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has governed employer-provided retirement plans, ensuring clear rules of the road for employers and strong protections for workers and retirees. When President Gerald Ford signed the law more than 40 years ago, he said the American people will have “greater assurances that retirement dollars will be there when they are needed.” But because of the Obama administration’s misguided actions, those assurances are now at risk today.

By creating a regulatory loophole to long-standing retirement protections, the previous administration gave states the green-light to force private-sector workers into government-run IRAs. This sweetheart deal for states – and even certain cities and counties – will lead to:
  • Weaker protections for workers and less control over their retirement savings.

  • Fewer small business retirement plans.

  • A confusing patchwork of rules for employers and greater risk for taxpayers.

That’s why Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) are leading an effort to block the Obama administration’s misguided action, along with the damaging consequences it would create. Together, H. J. Res. 66 and H. J. Res. 67 will:

  • Protect retirement savers from losing important protections and control over their hard-earned savings;

  • Support small businesses and the retirement plans they provide; and

  • Shield taxpayers from the potential liabilities of mismanaged government-run plans.

Some critics are using short-sighted rhetoric to attack this effort, but they miss the point of the debate. It’s not about whether states should be free to explore new ways to encourage retirement savings. (They should.) It’s about whether states should be free to skirt the law and deny important protections that have long been afforded to workers and retirees. (They shouldn’t.)

Every American should be able to retire with financial security and peace of mind. Fortunately, there is A Better Way to strengthen retirement security, one that will encourage small businesses to offer retirement plans and ensure workers continue to have the protections they deserve. This week, Congress has an opportunity to take another step in the right direction.

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