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June 17, 2013
This week, the House of Representatives will take up its version of a bill that reauthorizes federal agricultural programs in addition to a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the woman’s life is in danger. House Republican leadership altered the abortion bill after a committee markup last week to include some exceptions for the victims of rape and incest. The Senate continues to debate a comprehensive immigration reform package with votes relating to the bill expected throughout the week.
The two leaders of the congressional tax writing panels, Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI, 4th) and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), are continuing their strong push to reform the tax code. Last month, they launched a joint website and twitter handle to promote their efforts. On Friday, both Baucus and Camp made an appearance at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor where they announced that they were going to travel around the country to talk to business owners about reforming the tax code.
Congressman Camp has begun one-on-one meetings with Members of the House Ways and Means Committee to get feedback on ideas to reform the tax code that came out of the committee working groups in the spring. The Senate Finance Committee held the ninth of ten private meetings last week to discuss tax reform options, this time focusing on tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving. The tax writing committees plan to hold joint bipartisan meetings on tax reform as this issue continues to move through the committee process. The ASPPA GAC team continues to meet with members and staff of the tax writing committees to both offer our proposals to enhance the private retirement system and to protect the current retirement tax incentives.
In recent weeks, Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ, 12th) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) have re-introduced the Lifetime Income Disclosure Act (H.R. 2171 & S. 1145) in the 113th Congress. The legislation would require defined contribution plans subject to ERISA to annually inform participants of how the account balance would translate into a monthly income stream based on age at retirement and other factors. The legislation directs the Department of Labor to issue tables that employers and service providers may use in calculating an annuity equivalent, as well as a model disclosure. Employers and service providers following the DOL rules on prescribed assumptions and model disclosure would be insulated from liability on the income projections. ASPPA supports this legislation, because if participants understand more fully the level of income they can expect to receive from their current retirement account balance they will likely save more in the plan.
Last week, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing entitled, “Strengthening the Multiemployer Pension System: What Reforms Should Policymakers Consider?” Congress has an opportunity to reform the multiemployer pension system because provisions in the Pension Protection Act affecting multiemployer pensions expire in 2014. Committee members mainly focused on a proposal produced by the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans as they examined possible reforms to the current system. Should legislation move on multiemployer plans in the next year, other retirement proposals could move with the package. The ASPPA GAC team will continue to monitor any legislative developments in this area as Congress acts to reauthorize these provisions.
Andrew J. Remo
Congressional Affairs Manager
On June 18, 2013, ASPPA joined a number of other organizations in asking for an extension of the deadline to file lifetime income illustration comments [Comments]
On June 3, 2013, ASPPA and ACOPA submitted comments to PBGC on their proposed reportable events rules. [Comments]
On May 31, 2013, ACOPA submitted comments to the ASB on the second exposure draft of ASOP 4. [Comments]