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U.S. House Passes Bipartisan Bill Spanberger Cosponsored to Strengthen the Retirement Security of Virginia Workers & their Families

Bipartisan Bill also Includes Fix for Drastic & Unintended Tax Increase Impacting Gold Star Families & Surviving Children

Washington, May 24, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bipartisan bill U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger cosponsored to help more working Americans save for a secure retirement.

Spanberger joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House in passing the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act to allow more working families to achieve financial security throughout the course of their lives. The SECURE Act would help working Americans by making it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans to employees, giving flexibility to workers in apprenticeship programs, and providing retirement benefit opportunities to home care workers.  Additionally, the legislation—which passed by a vote of 417 to 3—would deliver a much-needed fix for military survivors and families facing drastic tax increases under the tax law passed in the previous Congress.

“Thousands of Central Virginians go to their jobs, work hard, and play by the rules to support their families. But far too often, they don’t have the long-term financial security they need to plan for retirement—and sometimes they don’t know if they’ll be able to retire at all. We need to address this retirement crisis immediately, especially as the costs of healthcare, higher education, and homeownership continue to rise,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to support and pass bipartisan legislation that would allow more Central Virginians to be set up for financial success in their golden years. By making it easier to escalate savings, expanding access to workplace retirement plans, and giving small businesses increased flexibility, we are ensuring that hard work is rewarded. As we fight to advance these retirement reforms on behalf millions of American workers and their families, the Senate must take up this legislation—so that we can preserve the dignity of our workers, retirees, and their families.”

The bipartisan SECURE Act includes numerous provisions to make it easier for American workers to save for retirement, escalate their retirement savings, and pay a fair portion of taxes, including:

  • Improving the ability of small businesses to offer retirement plans to employees by eliminating outdated barriers;
  • Allowing individuals to use money from their 529 savings accounts to pay for necessary tools and equipment for apprenticeship programs;
  • Permitting long-term, part-time workers to be eligible to participate in a 401(k) plan;
  • Providing relief to Cooperative and Small Employer Charity pension plans by creating a new tax credit to small employers; and
  • Providing retirement benefit opportunities to home care workers.

The bipartisan SECURE Act is led by U.S. Representative Richard E. Neil (D-MA-01) and is endorsed by several business, retirement advocacy, and economic development organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, the bill is backed by AARP, SEIU, TIAA, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Church Alliance, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, Air Line Pilots Association, American Council of Life Insurance, and Leadership for Advanced Life Underwriting. 

The Spanberger-backed SECURE Act also includes a provision to ensure spouses of service members killed in action receive the benefits they’ve earned. Under the 2017 tax law, a surviving child’s tax burden increased by an average of 12 to 15 percent from the previous year. This unforeseen tax hike required military families and survivors to pay thousands of additional dollars in taxes on survivor benefits during the 2018 tax year. The SECURE Act would fix this glaring error for Gold Star Families, children of fallen first responders, and other surviving children.

This provision—the bipartisan Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act—was introduced by fellow Virginia U.S. Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02).

The Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act is supported by numerous veterans’ organizations and service groups, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), National Military Family Association, Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., Military Officers Association of America, The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, The Retired Enlisted Association, Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Army Aviation Association of America, U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, and Jewish War Veterans.  

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