Auto-IRA Introduced in the House

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the Auto-IRA Act of 2012 (HR 4049) yesterday, and also appeared at a forum sponsored by the Aspen Institute with his colleague, Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA), to discuss Auto-IRA and a joint resolution they offered on supporting the existing retirement savings tax structure.

Rep. Neal's Auto-IRA bill would be a big step forward in promoting retirement security in the US. We've advocated in the past for a more aggressive approach (see Michael Calabrese's paper "Facing up to the Retirement Savings Deficit" for such an approach.) Yet there's no doubt that the Auto-IRA would be a major improvement over current law. We've outlined the Auto-IRA proposal in The Assets Agenda (see page 10) and other formats, but here's Rep. Neal himself discussing the details of the legislation:


That's good news. It would be better news if we had a time machine and could go back to the 110th Congress when Auto-IRA had 26 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, but the truth of the matter is that this is a really moderate proposal, with roots extending to David John at the Heritage Foundation and Mark Iwry when he was at Brookings. It's a common sense, low-cost piece of legislation that would extend retirement coverage to millions of working Americans. Given the state of retirement security in the US (again, see the Calabrese paper above) this is a proposal that should receive extensive consideration, and quickly. Congrats to Mr. Neal (and Mr. Blumenauer, his first co-sponsor) for getting this bill introduced.


Justin King is policy director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this position, he works to develop and advance innovative public policies that expand economic opportunity by broadening access to high-quality financial products, increasing savings and growing asset ownership.