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Congresswoman Susan Davis Votes to Protect Retirement Benefits for Millions of Californians

Feb 15, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – In what is likely to one of many confrontations between Congress and the state, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) opposed an effort in the House to strip access to retirement benefits from millions of Californians who work in the private sector. Davis voted against a resolution to kill a policy created by President Obama that lets states help private employees save money for retirement.

“After the extraordinary events of this week, I had hoped that the House would move forward with a swift investigation into White House dealings with Russia,” said Davis, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “Not to be distracted, it looks like the majority would rather spend the day stripping access to retirement benefits from millions. We’ve known for a long time that workers who have access to retirement plans through their workplace are more likely to save for retirement than those who don’t. We also know that nearly half of middle class workers will fall into poverty when they retire. We should be doing everything we can to encourage savings across the board.”

Last year, California established a program to provide seven million Californians with the tools to save for retirement.  The Secure Choice program lets workers who do not have a retirement plan through their employer to contribute a share of their income to an IRA account administered by the state.  

Under this voluntary program, countless Californians will get access to tax preferred retirement accounts for the first time ever.  After months of reviewing public input, the Department of Labor (DOL) cleared the way in August for Secure Choice by ruling that states could move forward with their own programs to help workers save for retirement. 

Seven other states are in the process of implementing similar laws and dozens more are considering their options.

The resolution in question would undo DOL’s ruling, leaving states in a legal grey area that could put these programs in jeopardy.  The House passed the resolution on a party line vote. It moves to the Senate for consideration.