Vice Chair Crowley Leads Letter Urging President Obama to Expand Access to Retirement Savings through Executive Order

May 6, 2016
Press Release

(Queens, NY) – Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, announced he led over 65 members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama urging him to issue an Executive Order to require government contractors to auto-enroll employees in retirement plans.

“We need to address the retirement security crisis in America, and we can start at work. With nearly half of all workers not having access to a retirement plan through their employer, and many more either not eligible for their employer’s plan or not aware of their employer-provided options, fewer than 10 percent of those workers are contributing to a savings account on their own. We need to take steps now to reverse this trend,” said Rep. Crowley. “Using his pen, President Obama can take an important step forward to support hardworking Americans and help even more workers prepare for a secure retirement.”

Specifically, the letter urges the President to require federal contractors to automatically enroll their workers in the company’s traditional pension or 401(k) plan, because auto-enrollment has been shown to significantly increase participation. For employers that do not currently offer a plan, the letter suggests employers could make use of the myRA program, which was launched by the Administration last year and provides employers with an easy way to help employees save. The letter also asks that an executive order apply to both full- and part-time employees, and also include a requirement that employees will be considered immediately vested in whatever plan is being offered, giving those workers flexibility and peace of mind when it comes to their savings.

“Given the growing savings and retirement crisis in the country and the difference that can be made for so many workers by putting into effect your Administration’s policies to provide a more secure retirement, we believe now is the time to take these kinds of actions,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter

The lawmakers also illustrated that expanding access to retirement savings builds on the President’s strong record of taking action to lift up workers at federal contractors, setting a positive example for all employers nationwide.

Last April, Crowley unveiled his “Building Better Savings, Building Brighter Futures” plan to address the savings and retirement security crisis in the U.S. The plan will make Americans more financially secure throughout their lifetimes by creating new financial options that encourage personal saving, expand employer-provided retirement plans, and strengthen Social Security. Crowley released a detailed blueprint for the plan, which can be found here.

The letter can be found here.