tv Senate Democrats on 401K Retirement Plans CSPAN October 31, 2017 7:35pm-8:01pm EDT
prize winning biographer and author of "alexander hamilton," on chernow and his new book ulysses s. grand. >> hamilton was young and dashing and handsome and romantic, a perfect leading man for a musical. grant, grant is a different kind laconiche was plain and and the charisma of grant was that he had no charisma. the drama very sauven that he was not dramatic in different situations. he's no less fascinating but it's kind of a much more, you know, subtle character. in that respect reminded me much more of george washington that george washington had a similar kind of reserved, enigmatic
uality to grant. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> earlier today, senate democrats introduced a proposal to expand 401-k retirement savings plans. the democrats' proposal comes ahead of the republican's tax reform plan which could impact the contribution capped retirement accounts. this is 25 minutes.
>> i was the one who was late, they were not. blame me, not them. i just walked in first. ok, good morning everyone. and i apologize for being late. i want to thank the ranking member of the senate finance committee, senator wyden, for being here as well as finance
members stabenow and cantwell and the leader on retirement issues, sheldon whitehouse though he is years from retirement himself, very selfless of him. tomorrow, house republicans are expected to unveil the fine print of their long-awaited tax plan. senator schumer: at the risk of using a halloween pun, we're sure it will be full of tricks for the middle class and treats for the wealthiest americans an biggest corporations. we don't know yet what is -- what the republicans will do to middle class americans' 401k retirement accounts. but many republicans have sugg scrested that they may move the cap on pretax contributions to 401k's all way down to $2,400 per year. it's now $18,000 if you're below $50,000 and $24,000 -- if you're below 50 and $24,000 if you're above 50 years of age.
no matter how you slice it, it's an immediate tax hike on american families' retirement plans period. it would be bad for millions of families which is why it's opposed by groups like the aarp. the president suggested that these accounts won't change at all. but then immediately backed off and said it's a negotiation. maybe that will be included in the bill and maybe it won't. and the chief tax writer of the republicans, congressman brady, has refused to rule out a middle class tax on americans' retirement. we democrats are here to say we vigorously oppose any tax hike on middle class retirement accounts. and that we have a better plan to make it easier for americans to save for retirement rather than harder. under the plan we're putting forward today, we would lift the cap on pretax contributions for 401k's, create a new tax credit for companies who will match 401k contributions, and create a
new auto i.r.a. program for the one half of american workers under age 65 who don't have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. we make it easier for americans to retire in a decent way rather than harder which is what our republican colleagues do. why would they do that? why would republicans do this? why would they hurt the middle class in something as sacred as retirement? to give a huge tax cut for the top 1% and provide a tax giveaway to corporations that are already raking in billions of profits a year and are flush with capital already. we think republicans have it exactly backwards. they should abandon any plan to tax 401k's and work with democrats in a bipartisan way to expand retirement savings, not to cut
them. senator wyden? senator wyden: thank you,
leader. the leader has said it very well and what i want to do is just amplify on a couple of points. the first is, the republicans in congress have been talking about right at the heart of their tax reform efforts is to make the tax system simpler. i can tell you as i look again at what is on offer, this approach on retirement would be a full employment program for record keepers. in effect, you'd have one set of rules pretax, $2, -- $2,400. another set of rules post-tax. you might have employees setting up both types of accounts. employers are going to have a challenge trying to get the word out about both of these
approaches so we'll start with that. as the leader has touched on, we have just been slack jawed at the idea that they just cannot keep their hands off your 401k. what we have seen is early on they said, well, we're looking at some of these ideas. then the president reeled it back in and then mr. brady put it back on the table once more. so you take these things on top of the fact, and we won't continue the halloween analogies too much but they already -- [laughter] sat next to him all these years, i knew that was coming. they do have a frightful record when it comes. >> good one, ron.
senator wyden: thank you, mr. leader. here's what has happened already this year. they've made it a lot harder for states like oregon to help americans save. when they don't have the savings plan at their job. that's what they done already. number two. they're in the process of scrapping a rule that says financial advisors to retirement plans have to work in their clients' best interests. get your arms around that. that is really a radical idea. that the financial advisors should have to actually be working in the client's best interest. that is in the process of being scrapped as well. and now we've got going after 401k's. i mean the reality is, all of this is going to be so harmful to the middle class is going on
behind closed doors. and i want to amplify on the leader's point with respect to why. essentially as some of the authors of the trump tax plan have said, like mr. moore, they have overpromised all of their strongest mega wealthy supporters. they've got $4 trillion worth of tax promises. and they've basically at this point got virtually no revenue in order to pay for it. so what they have done is basically made it clear that their promises to the middle class are really not worth the paper they're written on. they are false promises to the middle class. make $4 trillion worth of promises, largely to the people who are at the top of the top and then you've got to come back
through the back door in secret and take it out of the hide of the middle class. so it is less simple, less fair, and less hopeful for the middle class who work hard, play by the rules and would just like to be able to save and get ahead. i'm glad my colleagues are here. two very valuable member os they have finance committee and senator whitehouse who has been prosecuting the cause a long time. >> good morning and happy halloween. this is such an important issue for families in michigan, that's why i'm glad to be here with my colleagues. senator stabenow: it is true tonight you'll have a lot of ghosts and ghouls walking around snock -- knocking on our doors. scary little kids dressed up. but none of this is as scary as the republican tax plan. that's for sure. senator wyden outlined how it's going to take away people's
options for saving for retirement. that's a problem. when only 18% of americans are very confident they've saved enough for retime. i can tell you in michigan where we have both in the public sector and private sector people's pensions being questioned, people don't know whether or not they're going to get their full pension now. we have a lot of employers, public and private, that are turning from traditional pensions to requiring people to use 401k savings. and so right now people deserve a better deal than what is being talked about by the republicans. that's why we're here. with a plan that gives families more ability to save for retirement. more ability to cey for retirement. not less. and the power to decide how they're going to do it.
so we're really proposing something that will protect the free dm of american families to save for retirement on a pretax basis. today workers as has been said in michigan and across the country are able to save $18,500 through a 401k if they're -- through a 41 k. if they're 50 or older they can save an additional $6,000. that's good but we think there's a better deal. we would expand the limit so every american can save up to $24,500. every american can save up to $24,500 in a 401k account on a pretax basis. their plan, can you imagine, their plan would limit the savings to a skimpy $2,400 a year. a budget gimmick that would then be used for tax giveaways for the wealthiest americans.
so we're suggesting $24,500. and what they're talking about is $2,400. imagine trying to retire on that. that's frightening. thank you. senator cantwell? senator cantwell: thank you. i'm glad to join my colleagues today to say the republican approach to tax reform is wrongheaded. it's wronghead on trying to make sure americans no long ver deductions of sales tax, mortgage, property tax and other things. they're also wrongheaded in trying to take away retime savings. 9 % of americans are not meeting their retirement savings target that results in the savings shortfall of roughly $14 trillion. the economic policy institute found that a medium working -- -- a median working age family had an average of only $5,000 saved for retirement. the lack of retirement savings
will add additional strain to government programs from social security to medicare to snap. the 401 plan remains one of the most popular retirement savings for more than 55 million active users, mainly it encourages americans to save for retirement. in 2008, we bailed out the biggest banks while everyone else's 401 pensions and retirement savings took a hit. and people are still feeling the effects of retirement instability while we gave the banks billions of dollars and now are back to making billions of profits a year. so we owe it to workers to make sure they can invest and they can save for their future. the republican plan of taxing 401k's or limiting tax-free contributions will only make it harder for people to save. we should not be taxing working people to pay for tax cuts for huge corporations. the potential cost of paying
taxes up front could reduce the amount of many individuals that are able to contribute to the retirement account or have limits or would limit their ability to contribute at all. we need to be instead encouraging people to save through incentivizing investments in 401's, annuities and other retirement product, not cutting their taxes, not cutting taxes for the wealthiest americans while putting the burden on working families. i'll turn it over to my colleague, senator whitehouse. senator whitehouse: i'll try to wrap up quickly. i think it's long pastime for a sincere effort in congress to help americans retirmente security and we have ideas like the auto i.r.a. that will in fact help american's retirement security. about a third have zero retirement set aside other than the prospect of social security. what we have in this budget instead of a sincere effort to help americans retirement
security is a sly budgetary trick. it will reduce american's retirement options all to establish a budgetary trick to move revenues into the 10-year budget window. for every dollar they move into the 10-year budget window and count as revenue yurks lose revenue in the -- revenues in the out-years so there's no foreseeable gain but it does create phantom revenues. which can be used to offset tax cuts for the rich. so what you're doing is disrupting americans' retirement security, failing to produce enhancements and improvements that americans desperately need and instead reverting to a budgetary trick that will allow for tax cuts for the wealthy. we deserve better and thank you for listening. senator schumer: all right, we're ready for questions.
we're going to take them, at least, i'll take them on this ubject only because i'll be at our regular 2:15 after lunch meeting. >> wouldn't this only benefit higher incomes? senator schumer: it depends how much you want to save. our idea of a credit for employers who contribute will benefit low-income too. >> what do you say to republicans who say if all you have to do is increase g.d.p. rowth by .4% per year. senator schumer: that doesn't pay for the whole package, at least a $5 trillion package we've seen. we don't know how many offsets they'll put in there like this one. second, the bottom line is, this theory churned out by right wing think tanks that growth will
occur because of these tax cuts is absurd and all of our examples, president bush said this in the same right wing think tank said it in 2001 and 2003 they predicted a surplus in 10 years. instead, according to c.b.o. the deficit was $1.6 trillion because of the bush tax cuts. the state of kansas, so obvious what happened, again, home of the koch brothers, great experiment, dramatically cut taxes, we'll have real growth. they predicted, for instance, that the government income would be up $300 million. it was down $700 million. they predicted that growth would soar, last year, kansas grew at .2% rather than 1.6% that all of america grew. t's
utter self-serving bull. >> in support of the leader's point i can -- point i can say, what we have seen is growth
projections that respond to your questions are unicorn math. senator wyden: you don't have to take my word for it. the republicans chose economists to come before the committee and we asked point-blank would these tax cuts pay for themselves? and not the democratic economists, but the republicans' economists said that, when you have the treasury secretary saying that they believe it could generate $2 trillion worth of growth, there is no independent evidence that suggests that. senator stabenow: just to add to that, our democratic communications committee is doing a hearing where we'll have the house democratic leader from kansas and a parent, p.t.a. leader from kansas that will be speaking more in depth. i would really encourage you to come and to listen to this
because the fact of the matter is, they ended up going down to four-day school weeks for many of the children in kansas. it was a complete disaster. the republican majority actually went back and repealed all the tax cuts. increased taxes again to try to stabilize things. so it just hasn't worked. i was here during both bush tax cuts as well and for me, i think for all of us, we're not ideological. if trickle down economics worked, great. it has not worked. so i don't know how many times we're going to see republicans try to sell a bill of goods to the public when the public has not gotten any benefit from trickling down. so tomorrow, please come join us. it's in the visitor's center. we'll send out something. >> can you talk for a moment, we don't know specifics about the bill to be released tomorrow, i know administration officials
talked to house republicans from new york and new jersey as a member from new york, talk about the impact potentially of what this would do to states like yours. senator schumer: in the 10 republican districts in new york state, nine republican districts in new york state, taxes for the middle class and upper middle class would go up significantly even with this compromise. so they shouldn't -- so they shouldn't be fooled. there are about 60 districts throughout the country where over 30% of the taxpayers get an average break of $8,000 or $9,000. and the idea that the standard deduction would make up for it is a total, total -- the misstatement of facts is appalling. yeah, they're doubling the standard deduction and taking away the personal exemption. if you're a family of three, it's a wash. if you're a family of more than three you lose money on that too. >> talk about the dissonance between the president and
chairman brady about what's in this bill. to the degree you're interested in negotiating or knowing what to oppose, who speaks for the republican party on their tax plan? senator schumer: what donald trump says is in the tax plan and what's in the tax plan are light years apart. what donald trump campaigned on and what's in the tax plan are light years apart. who really speakers in republican party? the koch brothers and their rich allies who wanted to get rid of all income taxes and all federal taxes for a long time. >> can i follow up on that? with the health care bill crafted in a similar way, after the house passed it, the president called it mean. talk about the fact that the president did not, this isn't what the president campaigned on. senator schumer: if the president spent time to read the bill he would oppose it. but his advisors come in and tell him, this is great, it cuts middle class taxes, and one of many problems with this
president he doesn't know the details of the things he's supporting. he did the same thing on health care he said the health plan would lower premiums and cover more people. it did the opposite. and that's the reason it lost, the american people hated it. now as low as 30% of americans call it -- support the tax -- the trump tax reform proposal. it's 30% and going to get lower. >> democrats seem to think that the more sunlight, the more you talk about what's in the bill the better it is. but this week we've seen things kick off with a renewed attention on the mueller investigation and indictments and charges handed down. does that make your job harder? senator schumer: we just keep at it. the same groups, many of them, that were mobilized, the same grassroots groups that were mobilized letting the country know what the real health care bill was are now focused on taxes. the mueller investigation is going to proceed along on its
own. we hope there's no interference obviously there'd be an outrage if there were. but we're going to be focusing on taxes for the next several weeks. >> there's a big tax rally tomorrow. >> three senate democrats didn't sign on to the initial letter stating your initial principles. senator schumer: everyone will make up their minds. but the three who didn't sign on did basically agree with the principles. >> what about sunset provisions? is this something democrats will push for? senator schumer: we'll have to see the individual package. we think the whole plan should sunset in about three minutes. >> have you talked to any republicans about this proposal and what was their reaction? senator schumer: i have not talked to republicans on the 401k's. we will. last question. and any of my colleagues join in if i left something else. >> what is the revenue for the
alternative retirement proposal? senator schumer: we don't have an estimate yet, we intend to submit it to c.b.o. thank
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