How Will the Midterm Elections Affect Retirement Policy?

The November 2018 midterm elections promise nothing if not change. As the Republican’s hold on the Senate strengthened, the Democratic party took a majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrat and Republican parties historically hold very different positions in several important areas. As such, the change in leadership in the House may lead to sweeping changes in every area, particularly when it comes to retirement policy.
 

A recent Bloomberg Law article stated:

“The new political landscape fundamentally changes the retirement policy dynamic in Washington and there is a very real possibility of significant reforms over the next two years.”

A summary of the expected changes follows.

Retirement Policy Takes Center Stage

Representative Richard Neal (D-Mass) is expected to become the new Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Neal has focused on retirement policy legislation in the past and is expected to do so when he assumes his new role. The bipartisan Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) may draw nearer to final form under his guidance.

Bipartisan Retirement Legislation a Possibility

Speaking of RESA, people on both sides of the aisle supported the proposal in the prior Congress. Though the House did pass the Family Savings Act (FSA), lawmakers have been unable to move RESA ahead. Expect to see new movement in the new Congress.

Potential Changes to Multiemployer Pension Systems

Retirees face a loss or reduction in retirement benefits due to serious problems with some multiemployer pensions plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). A bipartisan committee – the Joint Select Committee on Multiemployer Plans – is expected to work toward resolution of this matter. Democrats may push the Butch Lewis Act. If approved, this act could provide assistance and government-backed low interest loans to shore up struggling plans.

Social Security Expansion on the Horizon?

The past Democratic caucus appeared to strongly support increasing Social Security benefits while making the program more solvent. Republican lawmakers appear headed in the opposite direction. In fact, trimming entitlement programs may be a goal of Republicans in the coming years.

Regulation and Guidance May Drive Changes to Retirement Policies

The Trump Administration appears headed to a time where retirement policies will receive increased attention. The Department of Labor followed up on an executive order signed by President Trump by proposing regulations that, among other things, may lead to a major expansion of multiple employer plans.

Retirement Policies May Be Changing. Is Your Company Ready?

Based upon recent proposal from both Democrats and Republicans, there appears to be strong bipartisan support for retirement legislation in both the House and the Senate.

This early in the game, it is impossible to know exactly how retirement policy will be affected. Anyone involved with retirement plans or retirement policy might be well served by closely watching what transpires in the coming legislative sessions.

At Hall Benefits Law, we can help employers develop plans that comply with current laws but look ahead to potential changes. Please call 678-439-6236 to discuss your concerns with an experienced attorney. Our website contains more information about our firm, a Contact Form, and free resources for your review. From our home office in Georgia, we assist clients throughout the United States, from coast to coast.

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Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.

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