Engel Votes to Strengthen Americans' Retirement Security and Provide Urgently Needed Tax Fix for Gold Star Families

Engel Votes to Strengthen Americans’ Retirement Security and Provide Urgently Needed Tax Fix for Gold Star Families


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a top member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, this week voted to pass H.R. 1994, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) to help Americans save more for a secure retirement and deliver an urgently needed fix for military survivors and families facing drastic tax hikes under the GOP Tax Law. 


“According to two recent studies, one-third of American workers believe they will either face significant financial hardship during retirement or will never retire, and almost two-thirds of workers have no retirement account assets whatsoever. This is a massive crisis that is only growing larger by the day,” Engel said. “As Members of Congress, it is our responsibility to ensure that, for every American, the dream of a secure and happy retirement is within reach. It’s also our responsibility to ensure our Gold Star Families aren’t unnecessarily burdened financially due to the GOP tax scam. As such, I was proud to vote in favor of H.R. 1994 and I remain hopeful that our colleagues on the Senate side will take up the measure quickly.”


The SECURE Act includes numerous provisions to make it easier for American workers to save for their golden years, expand opportunities for them to increase their retirement savings and ensure that all Americans are paying their fair share in taxes, including:

  • Making it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans to employees;
  • Helping provide retirement benefit opportunities to home care workers;
  • Allowing long-time, part-time workers to participate in a 401(k) plan;
  • Providing relief to Cooperative and Small Employer Charity pension plans; and
  • Closing down the Stretch IRA loophole used by the wealthy to obtain beneficial tax status on inherited income.


For Gold Star Families, the SECURE Act fixes a provision in the new tax law that placed undo financial burden on the immediate family members of fallen service members. The spouses of our fallen heroes sometimes sign over earned benefits to their children to ensure their families receives all the benefits they have earned.  The 2017 GOP Tax Law, which brought changes to how children’s assets are taxed, increased a surviving child’s tax burden from between 12-15 percent to the trust and estate tax rate of around 37 percent – requiring families to pay thousands of additional dollars in taxes on survivor benefits.  The SECURE Act fixes this flawed tax treatment of payments to military survivors and families as well as provisions that unfairly and unexpectedly raised tax rates on tribal government payments to children, certain scholarships and fellowship grants, payments made to children of fallen first responders and other payments to children.