In Detail: Ways & Means Vote on Pension Reform

April 25, 2001 ( - As the House Committee on Education and the Workforce turns its attention to pension reform, a few minor changes were made to the version of HR 10 coming out of the House Ways & Means Committee.

During debate, the committee adopted three amendments to the bill, according to the American Benefits Council.  These amendments:

  • would help families establish pension plans for household workers by removing the excise tax on non-deductible retirement plan contributions made for household workers (passed unanimously)
  • permit religious orders, such as the Amish, to contribute to retirement plans even though they do not pay employment taxes (passed unanimously)
  • allow cruise lines to exclude non-resident aliens with limited US income from their employer-sponsored retirement plans, effectively boosting the contribution rate of relatively higher paid ship officers (passed 27-12, largely on party lines).

“No” Way

Largely along party lines, the committee rejected two amendments proposed by Rep. Richard Neal (D- Ma) that would have:

  • provided refundable tax credits for contributions made by low- and middle-income workers to employer-sponsored plans and IRAs (up to $1,000/year) and
  • established two small business tax credits, one for start-up costs and another for contributions on behalf of non-highly compensated workers, that would have matched 50% of contributions to IRAs or qualified plans for families earning up to $25,000/year, with a phase out up to $75,000/year.
    Vote Note

The Ways and Means Committee approved the bill 35-6 margin.  All committee Republicans voted in favor of the bill joined by 11 Democrats.

The six Democrats opposing the bill were:

  • Xavier Becerra (CA)
  • Robert Matsui (CA)
  • Jim McDermott (WA)
  • Richard Neal (MA)
  • Charles Rangel (NY)
  • Pete Stark (CA)

HR 10 will be reviewed tomorrow by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and will be considered on the House floor next week.

– Nevin Adams