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Higgins Announces Passage of Retirement Security Legislation

May 23, 2019
Press Release
The SECURE Act Improves Options to Save for Retirement, Fixes Gold Star Family Tax Increases

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced House passage of H.R. 1994, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019. The bill, which was reported to the full House by a unanimous vote in the Ways & Means Committee, passed with a vast bipartisan majority of 417-3.


The SECURE Act takes numerous steps to improve Americans’ ability to save for retirement, including:


  • Encourages small businesses to pool together to enroll their employees in defined contribution multi-employer retirement plans (MEPs) – this change alone is estimated to help 600,000-700,000 Americans open new retirement accounts.
  • Expands 401(k) participation to long-time part-time workers and home care workers,  
  • Creates a new tax credit so that small businesses can more easily enroll their employees into their 401(k) automatically.
  • Closes a loophole used by some wealthy individuals to distribute retirement savings to beneficiaries much younger than them, allowing them to have a tax-favored income that is not used on retirement. 


Congressman Higgins said of H.R. 1994: “For generations Americans have held the promise that after putting in a lifetime of hard work they could enjoy security and comfort in retirement. Today, because many large companies are looking out for shareholder profits and leaving the American worker behind, more and more seniors are forced to work longer or slip into poverty. The SECURE Act expands opportunities for Americans to increase their retirement savings and fixes the steep spike in taxes on Gold Star families.”


This week, Congressman Higgins took to the floor of the House to push for a fix to the tax hikes Gold Star Families have faced since passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last Congress. A provision resolving this error is included in the SECURE Act, and is supported by veterans’ groups including the American Legion, VFW, the National Military Family Association, and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).


Congressman Higgins has also supported other legislation to address retirement security and is a cosponsor of both the House companion to the Butch Lewis Act, which stabilizes defined benefit multiemployer pension plans, and the Social Security 2100 Act, which ensures solvency of the program through the rest of this century.


The AARP recently found that approximately 2 in 5 households have no retirement assets saved, and that nearly 48% of Americans are not confident about saving for retirement. The SECURE Act will be considered next in the Senate.