House Retirement Bill Makes the Grandkids Pay

The House is scheduled to vote today on the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022 (H.R. 2954), a bill that would change retirement savings incentives, expand automatic retirement account enrollment, and allow seniors to further delay withdrawal of retirement income. The Joint Committee on Taxation scored the $36 billion bill as fully offset on paper with revenue increases. However, new revenue comes mainly from a budget gimmick that changes the timing but not amount of taxes while new costs mostly appear at the end of the budget window or outside of it. Over time, the legislation would add substantially to budget deficits and worsen the federal debt.

Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

We talk about fiscal responsibility, but this bill is just one big budget gimmick. Its offsets don’t raise revenue – they just change the timing of tax payments – while some of its costs don’t start until five years from now while others ramp up in ten years. By the end of the decade, the bill already costs nearly $5 billion a year, and those costs will only go up. This bill is a mockery of the pay-as-you-go principle.

It’s so important that we support strong retirement savings, which can help seniors to retire with dignity and protect them from falling into poverty. It’s good to see policymakers working in a bipartisan fashion to bolster retirement savings. If retirement security were really a priority, however, they would be willing to pay for it without relying on shameless budget gimmicks.

Instead of using budgetary sleights of hand, lawmakers ought to do the work of negotiating real offsets from the many options available. Policymakers should go back to the drawing board and honestly offset this bill.


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