Senate Leader Pledges California Will Continue to Implement Retirement Savings Programs for Private Sector Workers Despite Congress’ Vote to Derail State Retirement Plans

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), author of California’s Secure Choice Retirement Savings program (SB 1234), issued the following statement on the U.S. Senate’s approval today of a resolution aimed at eliminating state retirement programs for private sector workers.

“Today, even by Trump-adjusted standards, Republicans in the U.S. Senate hit a new low by voting without a single public hearing to deprive millions of Americans the ability to save for retirement, all in subservience to Wall Street interests and trampling on states’ rights in the process.”   

By approving House Joint Resolution 66, U.S. Senate Republicans today jeopardized the long-term financial health of tens of millions of low- and middle-wage earners across the nation.

“HJR 66 aims to derail long-agreed upon retirement security programs in several states, including California where 7 million workers are without access to a retirement savings plan. Nationwide, 40 million working-Americans have no money whatsoever in retirement accounts.

“Wall Street investment firms fear their profits will take a hit from state retirement programs that will offer a new choice to consumers even though the investment industry has historically ignored middle- and lower-income workers at medium- and small-sized businesses.

“Republicans offer the tired argument that the private sector – not the government – should provide solutions to the coming retirement crisis. Yet, the taxpayer– not the private sector – will have to foot the bill for safety net services as millions of Americans retire into poverty.

“California will not be deterred. We place the future and well-being of our workers over Wall Street greed. Working well into your “Golden Years” only to retire into poverty is not what the American Dream is about.

“We will continue to implement and defend our Secure Choice Retirement savings program so Californians who have worked hard all their lives can retire at a reasonable age with a measure of dignity.” 

New York Times (Editorial): Two Last Obama-Era Rules Worth Saving From the G.O.P.

Los Angeles Times (Opinion): Will the Senate side with seniors or with Wall Street?

Economic Policy Institute: What’s your excuse for opposing state retirement initiatives, senator? 

Washington Post: The Obama-era workplace retirement plans that the GOP wants to kill