DC Capitol building The SECUREAct has been billed as the most significant piece of retirementlegislation since passage of the Pension Protection Act in 2006.(Photo: Shutterstock)

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The roadblocks to passing the Setting Every Community Up for RetirementEnhancement Act in the Senate by unanimous consent are leavingindustry proponents of the bill hopeful it can be tacked ontomust-pass spending bills this fall.

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After influential GOP Senators Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Pat Toomey,R-PA, placed holds on the bill earlier this summer, hopes hadturned to an agreement that would raise the debt ceiling.

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The deal brokered between the White House and Congressionalleaders this week, which increases discretionary spending by $320billion over the next two years, did not include any add-onlegislation.

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Related: Senate Finance itching to move on RESA, otherretirement bills

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Cruz objected to the fast tracking the SECURE Act by a unanimousconsent vote after it passed the House of Representatives by a nearunanimous vote in May. The “hold” he placed on the process was inreaction to a provision stripped in the House version of the billat the 11th hour that would have allowed assets in 529 savings topay for homeschooling, and middle and high school private educationcosts.

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Toomey has publicly objected to a provision added to the bill inthe House that would expedite tax relief for military Gold StarFamilies who have lost family members in the line of duty. Toomeyhas said that bill should be passed as a stand-alone measure toassure its quick passage.

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Now, the bill's supporters are looking to the upcomingappropriations season to see the SECURE Act through.

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“The likely alternative to get the bill across the finish lineis to attach it to a must-pass spending vehicle in the fall,” saidWill Hansen, chief government affairs office for the AmericanRetirement Association.

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The SECURE Act has been billed as the most significant piece ofretirement legislation since passage of the Pension Protection Actin 2006.

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The bill includes relaxed regulation of Open Multiple EmployerPlans, designed to allow small employers to pool employees underone 401(k) plan, and new tax incentives for small businesses tosponsor stand-alone retirement plans.

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It also includes a long-anticipated annuity selection safeharbor for sponsors of defined contribution retirement plans, theextension of the required minimum distribution age for qualifiedretirement plans, and the removal of the age cap on contributionsto traditional IRAs.

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It is mostly paid for by eliminating some allowances onso-called stretch IRAs, a provision that has received widelyreported criticism by the Wall Street Journal's editorialboard.

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The Senate is scheduled to begin its August recess next week.Hansen said few are holding out hope that holds on the bill will belifted by then.

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That will leave the fate of the SECURE Act to the upcomingannual appropriations process. Both chambers of Congress arescheduled to advance 12 separate spending bills by the end of thefiscal year, or the last day of September.

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“The SECURE Act could be attached to any of the 12 bills,”explained Hansen. “The holds on the bill would not have to belifted—the spending bills would have to be voted on. For the mostpart the spending bills pass no matter what.”

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.