Merkley, Bonamici Stand Up for Oregon Retirement Savings Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) are leading the charge in the U.S. Capitol to stand up to new efforts that threaten the ability of states like Oregon to offer retirement savings plans to workers who don’t otherwise have access to retirement plans through their employers.

As the U.S. House began the process of pushing through a Congressional Review Act regulation that would threaten states’ ability to offer these plans, Bonamici led House Democrats’ efforts on the floor and Merkley vowed to fight such efforts if they come to the Senate.

“This new effort to roll back publicly-available retirement savings plans like Oregon’s is a shameless Wall Street giveaway,” said Senator Merkley. “With millions of Americans facing a retirement savings shortfall, now is the time to make high-quality retirement savings plans more–not less–available. The only people who benefit from rolling back these options are those in the financial industry who want to force workers into lower-quality options at higher costs. I applaud Congresswoman Bonamici for leading the charge in the House to defend our workers’ right to save, and I will fight this with everything I’ve got should it come to the Senate floor.”

“Every American deserves to retire with dignity, and Oregon has led the way in encouraging workers to save for a secure retirement and carry their savings from job to job,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “Instead of taking meaningful action to address the growing retirement savings crisis, Congress voted to dismantle rules set by the Obama Administration to clarify federal law for states like Oregon that set up state-administered retirement savings plans. That’s unacceptable. I’m leading the fight against repealing these rules, and I’m introducing legislation to create a national program modeled on Oregon’s leadership to give every worker across the country the opportunity to retire with security and dignity.” 

Merkley and Bonamici have applauded Oregon’s efforts to make a high-quality, state-offered retirement savings plan, OregonSaves, available to every Oregonian who doesn’t already have access through their employer, and have offered federal legislation—the American Savings Act—to expand Oregon’s idea on the national level. Bonamici reintroduced the American Savings Act in the House today, encouraging Republicans to join the effort to expand rather than curtail access to retirement savings plans.

In an editorial today, the New York Times also decried the House’s move to gut the state plans, writing, “There is no overstating how unprepared Americans are to retire. Nearly half of private-sector employees — some 55 million people — do not have an employer-provided retirement plan. Most of them are low- to middle-income earners who will end up relying on Social Security for between half and all of their income in retirement. And yet, as early as Wednesday, House Republicans are expected to pass a measure to thwart efforts by[…] states to establish basic retirement savings plans for employees at companies that do not offer such coverage.[…] Unfortunately, the House is charging ahead on its destructive course, and both Congress and the Trump administration have shown an appetite for helping Wall Street at the expense of average citizens.”