Facebook icon
Twitter icon
YouTube icon
Instagram icon
Flickr icon
RSS icon

Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

DISAPPROVING RULE SUBMITTED BY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELATING TO SAVINGS ARRANGEMENTS BY STATES FOR NON-GOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEES

February 15, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, our country is experiencing a retirement security crisis. Nearly 40 million private sector workers do not have access to a retirement savings plan at their jobs. The data and research also show that many middle- and low-income workers lack the ability to save enough on their own for retirement. Too many Americans lack access to retirement savings plans and too few are able to build a retirement nest egg on their own.

   Unfortunately, Congress has not stepped up to comprehensively address our country's retirement security challenges, but many States have stepped up and enacted innovative solutions to expand working people's access to retirement savings. California passed a law establishing a program that is estimated to provide 6.8 million workers access to a retirement savings plan. In Illinois, more than a million people are expected to benefit from the State's retirement savings program.

   Six other States have enacted programs. Dozens more have considered proposals to study or implement State-based retirement plans. Several of these States have worked with the Obama administration's Department of Labor on rules to ensure that their workplace retirement savings initiatives did not inadvertently run afoul of ERISA, the Federal law establishing minimum standards for private sector pensions.

   Last August, the Department of Labor finalized the rule specifying the ERISA safe harbor conditions for State payroll deduction retirement savings plans. The rule went into effect last October.

   In December, the Department of Labor finalized another rule that made certain cities and counties eligible for the same safe harbor protections. This rule only went into effect last month.

   Now, if there are legitimate concerns with the rules, the Trump administration has the administrative tools available to appropriately amend the final rules in the same fair, thoughtful, transparent manner in which they were promulgated. However, this CRA disapproval resolution, which was just introduced last week, will nullify the rule that puts a safe harbor in place to ensure the plans do not run afoul of ERISA. At the same time, under the CRA rules, it would make it impossible to enact a similar rule to protect these savings plans in the future without specific congressional approval.

   This afternoon, the House will also consider a CRA disapproval resolution which would overturn the month-old rule aimed at helping certain cities and counties offer workplace retirement programs.

   Mr. Speaker, Congress should not be in the business of destabilizing efforts that increase workers' ability to save for retirement, and we should not be going out of our way to undermine states' rights to implement their own innovative solutions. These two resolutions represent an attack on our Nation's working families. Congress must stand up for working people who do not have access to retirement plans at their jobs. America's working families deserve an opportunity to be able to save enough to retire with dignity and peace of mind.

   I urge my colleagues to reject both of these CRA joint resolutions of disapproval.