Tax-Writing Chief sets sights on retirement after Biden Agenda is Completed

November 17, 2021

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said on November 17th that he is still pushing to enact retirement legislation that passed his committee in May and he might seek to advance the bill after Congress completes its work on President Biden’s economic agenda.

“I’ve not surrendered on that issue,” he told a D.C. tax group.

Last spring, the Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed the “Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021.” But shortly after committee passage the momentum propelling the bill forward vanished, and the legislation has yet to receive a House vote.  Some lawmakers would like to amend the bill before it is subjected to a floor vote. 

Still, renewed congressional action on retirement might not occur until next year.

Biden’s economic agenda is divided into two pieces of legislation: The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was signed into law on November 15th, and the budget reconciliation bill whose fate is largely unknown.

The latest expectation is that Congress will not complete its work on the budget reconciliation bill until late December, at which point lawmakers will likely adjourn and not return until 2022.

The reconciliation bill contains tax increases on individuals and corporations, and Democratic lawmakers are the only members of Congress expected to support its passage. However, the bill has been the source for several, intraparty controversies, and addressing those issues is expected to take time.

Arguably, the most time-consuming issue will be getting the House and Senate to agree on the exact same piece of legislation. Both chambers must agree on the exact same bill for it to become law. And getting bicameral agreement on the bill is expected to take weeks, or longer, to complete. Any legislative toiling on Neal's retirement bill would occur after Congress has completed its work on reconciliation. 

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