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U.S. Chamber Urges Swift Passage of Pension Reform

Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Chamber of Commerce today urged swift congressional action on pension reform to simplify businesses' pension process by easing paperwork requirements and streamlining regulations, which will make employer-sponsored pension programs affordable for more business owners.

"Reform is critical, if we are to encourage more businesses to offer a pension benefit now, while many workers still have time to build for their retirement," said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president. "About half of all workers do not have a retirement or pension plan and the problem is particularly acute at small businesses. Reform will make it easier for employers to offer this benefit."

The Comprehensive Retirement Security and Pension Reform Act (H.R. 10) – sponsored by Reps. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) – would streamline pension plan regulations, lowering the employers' costs of pension programs. It would also raise annual IRA contributions limits from $2,000 to $5,000 over the next three years, and would reduce the current five-year vesting period for 401k funds as well.

"Pension reform will help all Americans increase their retirement savings and will allow more workers to benefit from employer-sponsored programs," said Josten. "Without reform, more workers will be forced to rely on Social Security, which is already facing financial difficulty."

More than 90 groups representing a broad spectrum of business, labor and government concerns, support the Portman-Cardin bipartisan plan for pension reform, according to the Chamber. Getting more workers to save more money sooner provides the funds to businesses to invest, grow and create jobs. Savings is the basis for productivity growth that leads to a higher standard of living.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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