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Resolution on Retirement Security Gains Bipartisan Support

By Bill Leonard  2/17/2012
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A congressional resolution supporting retirement security in the U.S. demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans can work together on some issues. Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., introduced on Feb. 16, 2012, a concurrent resolution in Congress to support existing federal tax incentives for retirement savings.

The resolution, supported by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and other groups, gathered more than 100 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. The resolution states that “tax incentives for retirement savings play an important role in encouraging employers to sponsor and maintain retirement plans and in encouraging participants to contribute to such plans.”

Other key points of the resolution state that “existing tax incentives have increased the number of Americans who are covered by a retirement plan” and that “a reformed and simplified tax code should include properly structured tax incentives to maintain and contribute to such plans and to strengthen retirement security for all Americans.”

Concurrent resolutions express the views of members of Congress on issues that are important to the welfare of the United States and its citizens. These resolutions are not binding and are not legislative proposals to create new laws.

Neal and Gerlach said the resolution is an important statement to make given the economic situation in the U.S. and political climate on Capitol Hill as members of Congress grapple with ways to reduce government debt and reform the federal tax code.

Employer and employee advocacy groups like SHRM worked with Neal and Gerlach to garner more support for the retirement resolution. SHRM led an advocacy team effort to promote the resolution and get House members to co-sponsor it. Two weeks after SHRM launched the advocacy effort, the number of co-sponsors for the resolution had increased by 50 members of Congress.

Kathleen Coulombe, senior associate for government relations for SHRM, said the Society is a strong supporter of the retirement security resolution.

“SHRM believes that a comprehensive and flexible benefits package is an essential tool in recruiting and retaining talented employees,” she said. “Increasing the number of co-sponsors for the resolution was imperative in order to bring strength to the resolution and demonstrate HR’s strong belief in the current taxation structure for retirement plans.”

Bill Leonard is a senior writer for SHRM.

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