The Senate Finance Committee has approved a new bill aimed at bolstering Americans’ retirement savings, according to news reports.

The committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve the Enhancing American Retirement Now, or Earn Act, which aims to expand retirement savings access by making 403(b)s eligible to form multi-employer plans, among other measures, FA-IQ sister publication Ignites writes. 403(b)s are available for public education organizations, some non-profit employers, cooperative hospital service organizations and self-employed ministers.

The bill would also raise the age for mandatory distributions from 72 to 75, allow employers to match student-loan payments, treating them as elective deferrals, raise the cap on catch-up contributions for savers between 60 and 63, allow the automatic porting of default individual retirement savings accounts into a new employer’s plan and establish a lost-and-found database for retirement plans, according to the publication.

The Earn Act would also give $500 credits to small firms adopting auto-porting arrangements, lower the minimum number of years of work by part-time employees to become eligible for workplace plans from three to two and introduce “starter” 401(k) plans in which employees would be enrolled at deferral rates between 3% to 15%, Ignites writes.

The Insured Retirement Institute and the Investment Company Institute welcomed the move, according to the publication.

"The bipartisan Earn Act makes needed reforms and improvements to our voluntary retirement system that will empower working families and set them up for success," said ICI president and chief executive officer Eric Pan, according to Ignites. "We encourage the full Senate to consider the bill, with the Help Committee legislation, and send a unified Secure 2.0 package to the president soon."

The Earn Act is one of several measures currently making their way through the legislature aimed at improving Americans’ retirement security.

In March, the House of Representatives approved an Earn Act companion the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022, known as the Secure Act 2.0, which aims to expand automatic enrollment in 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans, raises the required minimum distribution age to 75 and bolsters tax incentives for contributions to a retirement plan or individual retirement account.

And last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted in favor of advanced legislation designed to broaden retirement savings access for part-time workers and promote workplace emergency savings accounts, according to Ignites.

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