Lawmakers try to find solutions to retirement crisis

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) —  Lawmakers had yet another hearing on Tuesday to try to find solutions to a crisis facing Americans — retirement.

Currently, a third of Americans have less than a thousand dollars saved for retirement and many employers don’t offer a way to put away funds. 

Senator Debbie Stabenow says it’s time for Congress to pass a plan to help millions of people avoid poverty when they retire.

“There has to be a different sense of urgency here,” Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, said.

Joan Ruff, board chairwoman of the AARP, says half of working Americans don’t have access to retirement saving plans at their jobs, and a third have almost nothing saved.

“(It’s) leaving them increasingly dependent on social security,” Ruff said.

However, social security benefits may not provide enough income for many retired Americans. In addition, social security will eventually run low on money if Congress doesn’t act.

Lawmakers say that’s more reason to pass reforms now.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says the Retirement Enhancement Savings Act or RESA would give millions of people, even those working part-time, access to job-sponsored saving accounts for the first time.

“We’ve got this opportunity with RESA, and I think it’s an important first step,” Portman said.

Portman has also introduced a bipartisan bill that aims to provide even more incentives for retirement savings. 

Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio says there are generations of families in jeopardy.

“You see the desperation,” Brown said.

He says RESA will help, but fears Republicans will use the measure to undermine social security.

The plan has failed to pass two years in a row, but lawmakers say they will continue to have hearings in the hopes of passing it this year. 

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