RELEASE: Congressional Leaders Urge Obama Administration to Assist with Secure Choice Implementation

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Support Comes After Pro Tem De León and Treasurer Chiang Visit to DC

SACRAMENTO–With the passage of the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program in 2012, California recognized the need to provide retirement security for the 6.3 million Californians, mostly lower and middle-income workers, who have no access to a retirement plan at work, by providing them a portable and reliable retirement plan that will serve as a vital supplement to Social Security. In a letter on Monday to President Obama, Senator Patty Murray (Ranking Member, Senate HELP Committee) and Senator Ron Wyden (Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee), along with 24 of their colleagues, asked the Administration to take immediate action to facilitate the state-based efforts to improve retirement security in the private sector. Read the letter here (link).

“I applaud the members of congress who are helping to ensure a smooth implementation of the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, which has been a blueprint for other states to follow,” said California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. “Making the Secure Choice Program a reality will be a game-changer, setting the path for hard-working Americans to prepare for retirement so they won’t be forced into poverty.”

“It is our generation’s duty to achieve retirement security for the millions of Americans who are otherwise doomed to retire into poverty or labor until the grave.  In California, where over half of those working have no access to workplace retirement benefits,  we are forging a solution that will not only provide for the building of meaningful retirement nest eggs, but do so in a manner that is sensible for taxpayers and employers,” said California State Treasurer John Chiang.  “This show of support from Congressional leaders is welcome as my office begins the critical design and construction work that aspires to yield a solution to the approaching retirement crisis.”  

In March, the Pro Tem met with the California Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., and along with the State Treasurer met with several administration officials, including U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and members of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, to discuss implementation of SB 1234 (De León) which created the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. A public-private partnership, Secure Choice provides retirement-savings opportunities for private-sector workers who would otherwise have no access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Secure Choice has been called “a model for addressing a national problem” in an editorial by the New York Times.