WASHINGTON — Here’s how Minnesota’s members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending May 24.
Expansion of worker retirement plans
Voting 417 for and 3 against, the House on May 23 passed a bill (HR 1994) that would expand tax-favored retirement plans and benefits. The bill would remove limits on contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts; increase from 70 ½ to 72 the age at which individuals must start making annual withdrawals from their plans; require employers to include in company-sponsored plans part-time employees with sufficient work histories; qualify home-health care workers to participate in 401(k)-style plans; allow penalty-free early distributions to cover birth and adoption expenses; expand the use in retirement plans of annuities offering lifetime payments; make it easier for workers to take retirement accounts with them to new jobs, and allow penalty-free distributions from Section 529 college savings plans for apprenticeship programs and repaying student loans.
The bill also would provide tax credits to encourage employers to automatically enroll workers in company retirement savings plans, as opposed to the current system in which workers are given an opportunity to sign up. After being automatically enrolled, workers could opt out of the plan. The bill would make it easier for small businesses to establish and administer multiple-employer and pooled-employer retirement plans, and would reduce the premiums some charities and cooperatives pay to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Voting yes: Jim Hagedorn, R-1; Angie Craig, D-2; Dean Phillips, D-3; Betty McCollum, D-4; Ilhan Omar, D-5; Tom Emmer, R-6; Collin Peterson, D-7
Voting no: None
Not voting: Pete Stauber, R-8
Voting 200 for and 222 against, the House on May 23 defeated a Republican bid to include a rebuke of the so-called “BDS” movement in HR 1994 (above). The motion was unrelated to the bill’s purpose of expanding retirement savings. BDS is a global campaign by some companies and other entities to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel and Israeli-owned firms in response to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
A yes vote was to adopt the motion.
Voting yes: Hagedorn, Emmer
Voting no: Craig, Phillips, McCollum, Omar, Peterson
Not voting: Stauber
Restoring consumer financial protections
Voting 231 for and 191 against, the House on May 22 passed a Democratic-sponsored bill (HR 1500) that would restore Consumer Financial Protection Bureau powers watered down or abandoned by the Trump administration. The bureau was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law as an independent agency to protect consumers against predatory practices in matters involving credit cards, unsecured payday lending, debt collection, mortgages and auto…