Issue Position: Retirement Security

Issue Position

"With the continuing turmoil in our financial markets, we must address its effect on the retirement security of American families. According to the Congressional Budget Office, American workers have lost as much as $2 trillion in retirement savings over the last year. Americans rightly are worried that their savings will not be there to meet their needs as they hoped." -- Rush Holt

In an age of corporate pension rip-offs, uncertain financial markets, executives cashing in "golden parachutes" worth hundreds of millions at the expense of employees, and talk of "privatizing" Social Security, Rep. Holt has stood firm for protecting the pension funds of workers and the retirement annuities of America's seniors.
In this section:

Protecting Social Security

Social Security is America's most successful family protection program and it continues to serve Americans well. It provides a foundation of retirement income which permits seniors to live in dignity and helps relieve younger family members of the obligation for their support. Without Social Security, half of all seniors would fall into poverty. As the security of private pensions is in greater doubt, the guaranteed benefit of Social Security is more important than ever.

Social Security is not just a retirement plan. It is a family protection plan too, with benefits that cover all generations. Social Security provides life and disability insurance for the 96 percent of American workers who contribute to the system and their families. Rep. Holt opposes any efforts to privatize Social Security.

Rep. Holt strongly supports a fairer cost-of-living adjustment calculation for Social Security in order to keep pace with the actual increases in the true cost of living. Rush Holt has also worked to bridge the gap between payments to government employees and workers in the private sector. He has cosponsored legislation that would amend the Social Security Act to repeal the government pension offset and windfall elimination provisions that hurt senior citizens.

Rep. Holt is dedicated to strengthening Social Security's long-term finances so that it continues to provide a reliable, guaranteed base of retirement, disability and survivor's income. He also believes that because Social Security goes to almost everyone, it helps to create an important sense of national community.

CRS Report: Social Security Reform: Current Issues and Legislation (3-19-09)
Report: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (2008)

Need help? Are you having problems with your Social Security benefits? Rep. Holt can help speed overdue payments for disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and survivor benefits.

Protecting Pensions

With the continuing turmoil in our financial markets, Americans rightly are worried that their savings will not be there to meet their needs as they hoped. The nation also has seen leading companies freeze or end their defined contribution, 401(k), plans. Further, even some defined benefit plans, which provide retirees with a guaranteed pension check, may be in doubt.

As a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Rep. Holt is working to preserve defined benefit plans and strengthen 401(k) and other retirement plans. He believes that one step that Congress must take is to suspend temporarily a federal regulation that will force individuals over 70 ½ years of age to make a withdrawal from their retirement account. In the last Congress, Holt helped the House of Representatives pass the Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008. It did not pass the Senate. The Census bureau estimates that 5.5 million seniors have IRA's or 401 (k) plans and could be forced to sell financial assets at a tumultuous time in the market. Rep. Holt has heard from many New Jersey seniors about these required minimum distributions.

Rep. Holt believes that after decades of hard work, employees shouldn't have to worry that their retirement benefits are going to be low-balled or eliminated. As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, Rep. Holt will remain at the forefront of efforts to strengthen retirement security.

Education and Labor Committee Hearing: Strengthening Worker Retirement Security (2-24-09)
Education and Labor Committee Hearing: "The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Workers' Retirement Security" (10-22-08)
Investment Advice

Rep. Holt supports providing investors with market advice, provided full disclosure of fees and potential conflicts of interest. With the dramatic increase in hybrid plans and defined contribution plans, employees are now faced with making multiple investment decisions that will have a profound impact on their retirement security. Investment advice would give workers the kind of protections they need and encourage a competitive, dynamic marketplace.