While the scope of the Republican Party’s victories in the U.S. mid-term elections may have been surprising (at least to some), a leadership shake-up in the congressional committees with jurisdiction over the country’s public and private, employer-based retirement system was a foregone conclusion. As further described in our 2014-mid-term Congressional elections analysis a number of key Congressional committee leaders – many with significant expertise and a commitment to pension reform — will retire at the close of (or retired during) the current Congress. The new Republican committee leaders in the Senate and the leadership changes in the House may very well result in a new dynamic with respect to retirement issues.
Nonetheless, the issues they will face, to a great extent, will remain the same. The new Congress will continue to zero in on the tax expenditures resulting from retirement savings incentives as a revenue source for tax reform or other legislative priorities. The new leadership certainly will be faced with the daunting challenges presented by the multiemployer pension plan system that some say threaten the survival of the multiemployer plan structure and the financial backstop for the system provided by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It also is possible that some of the retirement system reform proposals developed during the last session of Congress will resurface (perhaps with new branding) – particularly if the Congress steps up to tackle tax reform in advance of the 2016 presidential election year.
For more detail on the implications of the elections, please check out our analysis of what we can expect from the 114th Congress in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election.