Washington Pulse: House Passes SECURE Act, Retirement Focus Shifts to the Senate

With growing bipartisan momentum that has lent new optimism for eventual enactment, comprehensive retirement legislation has been passed by the House of Representatives and now moves on to the U.S. Senate. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 passed in the House on May 23 with only token opposition, its 417-3 margin a demonstration of overwhelming support.

Even before the SECURE Act’s passage just prior to the start of the Memorial Day recess, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) indicated his eagerness to follow the House’s lead and tackle retirement enhancement legislation. Though the timing of congressional action is always difficult to predict, it is widely expected that the Senate will now take up a similar bill—the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act of 2019, or RESA.

Any differences between the House and Senate retirement bills would have to be resolved in a conference committee process. Barring any irresolvable policy differences or unforeseen procedural obstacles, comprehensive retirement enhancements are thought to have the best chance of enactment in many years.

A Few Last-Minute Changes
Like many bills, the SECURE Act underwent changes between its initial committee mark-up and when the legislation was passed by the House. These changes are described below.

  • The final House version removed a provision under which certain home schooling and elementary and secondary private school expenses would be treated as eligible 529 plan expenses. (Provisions treating certain apprenticeship expenses and student loan repayments as eligible 529 plan expenses remain in the SECURE Act.)
  • The final version also increased penalties for certain retirement plan reporting failures.

Other Provisions Remain the Same
All other SECURE Act provisions related to retirement and education savings remain the same. To review the details of this proposed legislation, see Ascensus' previous Washington Pulse on the SECURE Act.

Count on Ascensus for the Latest Updates
Ascensus will closely monitor the progress of retirement legislation in the U.S. Senate and any further action taken by the House that may lead to enactment. Watch Ascensus' Latest News for future updates.