Retirement Savings Plans,For Individuals,For Plan Sponsors,Custom

SECURE Act Passed by the House; Faces Uncertain Future in the Senate

September 10, 2019

On May 23, 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, was passed by the House of Representatives in a near-unanimous, bipartisan vote of 417-3. The SECURE Act represents the first major piece of retirement legislation to be approved by the House since 2006.

Initially many were optimistic that Senate would swiftly approve the SECURE Act by unanimous consent. However, in the two months since House passage, the SECURE Act's fate in the Senate remains uncertain.

In the Senate, a single senator has the ability to place a "hold" on a bill, preventing unanimous consent. Currently several senators have placed holds on the SECURE Act. Unless these holds are removed, the SECURE Act would have to either be 1. attached to an unrelated "must pass" piece of legislation or 2. be considered under "regular order," which would include floor debate and consideration of amendments prior to a full Senate vote.

Because the SECURE Act is a tax bill, the open floor amendment process could provide an opportunity for any senator to include an unrelated tax-associated proposal they may advocate for, creating additional challenges to passing the SECURE Act.

Further complicating passage in the Senate are competing interests such as judicial and executive branch appointments, which provide limited time for the Senate to consider legislation. Most recently, the SECURE Act was not included in the bipartisan agreement to extend the national debt limit and it remains a possible addition to upcoming "must pass" spending legislation to keep the federal government open past the end of September.

Should the Senate ultimately pass the SECURE Act in an amended form, any differences between the House and Senate versions would have to be reconciled and the final version approved by both chambers prior to being sent to the President for his signature.

ICMA-RC will continue to closely monitor the bill and update you as developments occur.

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