News & Politics

Democrats Propose Emergency Savings and Retirement Plan for Workers

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a 2020 presidential candidate, is interviewed in Washington on March 5.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) proposed a savings program on Thursday to help workers who lack funds for emergencies or do not have employer-sponsored retirement accounts.

The “Saving for the Future Act” would create “minimum savings” for workers through employer and employee contributions, according to the senators.

“It would require a 50 cent per hour contribution from employers matched by employees so that’s $20 a week or $1,000 a year – that may not sound like a huge amount off the top but over the course of a career, it can turn into a real retirement savings plan,” Coons told reporters during a conference call on Thursday.

The legislation would apply to companies with 10 or more employees. Klobuchar said tax credits would be issued to small businesses to get the savings program going, which would cost about $200 to $250 billion over 10 years.

“People are living longer and longer, which is such a great thing, but that means they are going to have a need for retirement and we know that 49 million people don’t have any retirement and in fact it actually socks people of color when you look at the statistics – black and Latino households have a median net worth of only $14,000 compared to $146,000 for white households so the idea here is you start somewhere,” she said. “This is going to be very desirable for a lot of employees to have this.”

Klobuchar, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said she plans to pitch the legislation to the public on the campaign trail.

“I think it has really been a neglected issue but this is something we’ve been working on long before I decided to run for president. I want to make this clear. We are in this bill for the long haul and we hope many of our colleagues get on the bill including, I’m sure, several people running for president. Our focus is to help get these people started in a retirement plan,” she said. “The cost of the bill is really the tax credits. You can do this without the tax credits. We just think it would be a lot harder for small businesses if we do it that way.”