Toomey and others introduce legislation to boost Americans’ retirement savings

WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Senators Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and Tim Scott (RS.C.) and U.S. Representatives Peter Meijer (MI-03) this week introduced the Retirement Savings Modernization Act to bolster Americans’ retirement savings by allowing workers to diversify the assets included in defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans.

This legislation will amend the Employees Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to clarify that private sector pension plan sponsors may offer plans, including both pensions and 401(k) plans. , which are conservatively diversified across the full range of asset classes.

Since 1982, pension plans have incorporated exposure to asset classes outside of public markets, such as private equity and real estate. Even though covered by the same law, 401(k) plans almost never incorporate exposure to alternative assets due to the risk of anticipated litigation from trustees.

“With inflation at record highs, a slowing stock market and a potential recession on the horizon, many Americans are understandably concerned about their financial future,” Senator Toomey said. “Our legislation will provide the millions of U.S. savers invested in defined contribution plans the opportunity to enhance their retirement savings through access to the same wide range of alternative assets currently available to savers with retirement plans. defined benefit.”

Until the 1970s, most Americans working in the private sector relied on pension plans for their retirement. Today, however, the vast majority of private sector workers depend on 401(k) plans. In 2019, 85.5 million Americans participated in defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans, while only 12.6 million Americans participated in private retirement plans.

Medicare Open Enrollment

starts Oct. 15, ends Dec. 7

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) reminded consumers that the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries will begin October 15 and end December 7.

Any new coverage selected or changes to existing benefits will become effective January 1, 2023.

During open enrollment, new Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in Medicare prescription drug coverage and health plans to supplement Medicare, and current Medicare beneficiaries can review and join, switch or drop Medicare Advantage or prescription drug coverage to better meet their needs.

To help Medicare beneficiaries sort through their options, the department offers free, objective health benefit counseling through Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI). Through Pennsylvania’s 52 Regional Agencies on Aging (AAAs), PA MEDI counselors can help Medicare beneficiaries compare plans, assist with new plan enrollment, and assess eligibility for one. Pennsylvania Medicare savings programs.

During this time of year, consumers may see television commercials or hear them on the radio with celebrities endorsing the added benefits and free offers of Medicare Advantage plans. Although these advertisements may mimic official Medicare communication, the advertisements are from brokers or agents who receive financial incentives for enrolling beneficiaries in these plans.

“When comparing insurance plan options, seniors should consider their current health status, plan benefits, access to providers, plans available in their area, and overall costs, coverage and convenience offered,” Aging Secretary Robert Torres said.

Meuser backs bill to protect

farmers stringent requirements

U.S. Representative Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, joined more than 80 House colleagues this week to introduce a bill that will prevent the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from requiring farmers to include climate-related disclosures in statements and periodic reports, resulting in an unreasonable burden on them.

U.S. Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) sponsored the “Protect Farmers from the SEC Act.” The bill follows a rule proposed in March by the SEC that would require filers to include climate-related information in their filings and periodic reports. Farmers are not currently “registrants” or subject in any way to the jurisdiction and oversight of the SEC, but the proposed rule would change that.

In addition to a significant amount of climate-related risk information, a reporter would be required to disclose information about its direct greenhouse gases, emissions, and indirect emissions from purchased energy. Furthermore, the rule would require the disclosure of indirect emissions from upstream and downstream activities, which would lead to a task for farmers that would be complicated and laborious.

Under the proposed requirement, public companies would be required to report emissions data from farms and ranches of all sizes, since a large majority of agricultural products will be used or sold by a publicly traded company. The rule would add economic pressure on businesses and weigh on all agricultural producers, especially small and medium-sized farms.

“Farmers in my district and across the United States are under extraordinary pressure right now, due to prolonged and painful inflation. Adding an additional regulatory requirement to them is unacceptable,” Meuser said.

In the United States, 98% of all farms are independent family operations. A massive reporting requirement and monitoring of emissions data that would be imposed on farmers would cause them undue hardship. Rising production costs and the difficulty in providing emissions data to public companies will hamper the ability of US farmers and ranchers to expand into global markets and encourage market reconciliation in the agricultural sector.

The law project :

• Prohibit the SEC from requiring an issuer of securities to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from activities up and down the issuer’s value chain from a farm.

• Define the production, manufacture or harvesting of an agricultural product through the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, describes upstream and downstream activities and defines greenhouse gases.

• Remove the SEC’s exemption power from this law.

Toomey, Republicans demand explanation for

dawn raid on the family home of a pro-life activist

US Senator Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley and a group of Senate Republicans this week demanded an explanation from the Justice Department and the FBI for the “abnormal and aggressive” dawn raid on the home of a pro lawyer. -living in Pennsylvania last week.

More than two dozen federal agents, some using ballistic shields and long guns, arrived to arrest the pro-life lawyer on Friday, September 23, for an incident that occurred nearly a year prior and for which the local authorities denied all charges. The FBI show-of-force raid followed multiple overtures of cooperation from attorneys for the attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which went unanswered over the weeks.

“Based on reports and allegations, the actions taken by the FBI reasonably call into question their compliance with the DOJ’s use of force policy. The FBI must explain its rationale for its actions…” the senators wrote .

Toomey said a simple arrest warrant can be served by a pair or a small number of officers, and is often avoided in favor of a court summons in cases involving nonviolent offenders. The use of such extensive manpower and resources stands in stark contrast to the apparent lack of response to the spate of violent attacks on crisis pregnancy centers across the country.

Toomey and Manchin call on DOE to enforce laws

to protect students from sexual misconduct

U.S. Senators Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and Joe Manchin (DW. Va.) wrote Education Secretary Miguel Cardona this week to question the Department of Education’s actions regarding the incapacity of States to institute policies that protect students from educators who engage in sexual misconduct. .

For years, K-12 schools across the country have failed to end the horrific practice of “passing the trash,” under which schools allow educators to quit quietly – including, sometimes, with positive letters of recommendation – rather than facing disciplinary action for committing a sex crime against a student. This allows sexual predators to seek other teaching jobs and continue to assault students.

The senators wrote:

“Our legislation (Section 8546 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was intended to end the horrific practice, known as ‘passing the trash’ or ‘aiding and abetting sexual abuse’. Yet, Seven years after its enactment, the patchwork of state laws identified in the report show that many states have failed to sufficiently ban practices that contributed to a student’s death, such as forged letters of recommendation that allowed a school employee to transfer schools with a “clean” record. The report highlights the need for stronger enforcement to ensure that states comply with this important provision of the law. In addition, we are concerned about the fact that the Department has not yet put in place a concrete timetable within which the states must comply.

Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

About Michael S. Montanez

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