Representatives Crowley and Petri Call for New Action to Encourage More Retirement Savings in America

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Experts from across industries express support

Washington, DC, March 5, 2014––Yesterday at the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (IFS) Congressional briefing on strengthening the retirement savings system, senior legislators Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Thomas Petri (R-WI) called for actions to strengthen the savings system that leaves too many Americans with only modest financial resources saved at retirement. The Aspen IFS briefing demonstrated a road forward for tax reform that leaves retirement incentives for most Americans strengthened. The Congressmen’s calls for using the tax code to strengthen retirement savings came just days after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released details of his tax reform proposal which proposed some reductions to retirement savings tax incentives.

Representative Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, called for strengthening personal savings and expressed support for the bills to introduce Automatic IRAs (H.R. 2035) and expand the Saver’s Credit (H.R. 837). Representative Crowley then announced that he would be introducing legislation to begin savings accounts at birth for all Americans.  Representative Tom Petri called for greater attention to the current lack of personal retirement savings and to the challenge of getting employees of small businesses covered by retirement savings plans. Representative Petri then noted that the Automatic IRA proposal had been endorsed by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. He also explained his interest in child savings accounts as a way to teach children the power of compound interest.

The legislators were joined by J. Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy and by business and thought leaders all arguing for an expanded system of retirement savings.  

Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
“American families are struggling to make ends meet and pay for basic necessities, let alone set aside savings for their children's futures. The result is a new generation of Americans growing up with no assets and little ability to either climb the economic ladder or simply weather a difficult time. My legislation will give every American child, regardless of their economic background, the opportunity to start their financial future on the right foot.”

Congressman Thomas E. Petri (R-WI)
“Savings is one of the surest routes to reaching one’s financial goals. Unfortunately, statistics demonstrate many Americans are not saving enough. As long as this is true, we need to continue to talk about policies that would encourage greater savings.”

J. Mark Iwry, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy
The retirement savings issue has been on the front burner since President Obama announced in the State of the Union that he would create a voluntary system of payroll deduction accounts invested in Treasury bonds known as “MyRA.” Mark Iwry described the new My Retirement Account as a no-cost program that does not compete with other types of savings plans but nonetheless has the potential to instill a lifelong habit of saving for workers and ultimately “graduate” them to savings products offered by the private sector.

Jeremie Greer, Director of Government Affairs at CFED
"CFED enthusiastically applauds Congressman Crowley for introducing USAccounts.  This incredibly comprehensive proposal builds upon more than a decade of experience the asset building field has accumulated delivering successful children's savings programs across the country."

Judy A. Miller, Director of Retirement Policy at ASPPA
“We know the key to promoting retirement security is expanding access to workplace savings, and Congress could take some modest steps that would make major strides in accomplishing that.”

Eric Stevenson, Vice President of Sales for Nationwide Retirement Solutions
"Nationwide Financial is committed to helping solve America's looming retirement crisis. We see increasing opportunity to educate America's workers to take a balanced approach through a combination of personal savings, defined contribution and defined benefits to save sooner and save more. With support from our country's political leaders, together we can create an environment that fosters savings."

Lisa Mensah, Founder & Executive Director, Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security
“To reach our goal of a stronger American economy, families need to own more than they owe. Financial security in America requires more saving and investing by moderate and low-income households. An effective savings system promotes the habit of saving early and makes saving through the working years easy and rewarding through policies such as Child Savings Accounts, the Automatic IRA, and the Saver’s Credit.” 

For additional information about the event and the work of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security, please contact Andrew Key at 202.736.2929 or at Andrew.Key@aspeninstitute.org.

About Aspen IFS:
The Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security (Aspen IFS) is a leading policy program dedicated to helping bring about the policies and financial products that enable all Americans to save, invest, and own. For more information about Aspen IFS and its work, please visit www.aspenifs.org.

About the Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; New York City; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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