House Committee to consider requiring employer-sponsored retirement plans

September 7, 2021

The House Ways and Means Committee this week will consider a measure to require employers that don’t offer retirement plans to automatically enroll their employees in individual retirement accounts or 401(k)-type plans.

Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., announced Tuesday that his committee on Thursday and Friday will markup, or consider, a series of legislative proposals under a budget reconciliation process. The markup is part of Democrats’ efforts to pass a $3.5 trillion social spending plan aimed at addressing climate change, expanding Medicare, paid family and medical leave and child care options, and establishing universal prekindergarten, among other items.

Mr. Neal has long sought to expand retirement coverage. In December 2017 he introduced the Automatic Retirement Plan Act, on which the provision now under consideration in the reconciliation package is based.

“I’m not particularly surprised to see this in the bill, it’s one of his top priorities,” said Michael P. Kreps, Washington-based principal and co-chairman of Groom Law Group’s retirement services practice, of Mr. Neal. “The fact that they’d be effectively creating near-universal coverage means you’ll have a lot more people saving.”