Human Resources

The Washington Report

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May 29, 2019


Congress Adjourns for Memorial Day Holiday
The House and Senate are on recess for the Memorial Day holiday. The chambers return to the Hill the week of June 3, 2019.

House Approves Retirement Bill
On May 23, 2019, the House approved with a 417–3 vote the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act – H.R. 1994). The bill includes a number of retirement provisions, including modifying requirements for employer-provided retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, and other tax-favored savings accounts.

With respect to employer-provided retirement plans, the bill modifies requirements regarding:

  • Multiple employer plans;
  • Automatic enrollment and nonelective contributions;
  • Tax credits for small employers that establish certain plans;
  • Loans;
  • Lifetime income options;
  • The treatment of custodial accounts upon termination of section 403(b) plans;
  • Retirement income accounts for church-controlled organizations;
  • The eligibility rules for certain long-term, part-time employees;
  • Required minimum distributions;
  • Nondiscrimination rules;
  • Minimum funding standards for community newspaper plans; and
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums for CSEC plans (multiple employer plans maintained by certain charities or cooperatives).

The bill moves to the Senate, where passage is uncertain.

The full text of H.R. 1994 is available here.


HHS Releases Proposed Rule to Revise ACA Section 1557 Rule
On May 24, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule to revise regulations implementing and enforcing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. The proposed rule “would maintain vigorous civil rights enforcement of existing laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex, while revising certain provisions of the current Section 1557 regulation that a federal court has said are likely unlawful.”

According to the HHS fact sheet, the proposed rule includes the following revisions (please refer to the rule and fact sheet for specific details):

  • Revises provisions preliminarily enjoined nationwide in federal court (including provisions relating to gender identity and termination of pregnancy);
  • Removes costly and unnecessary regulatory burdens;
  • Revises an enforcement structure that created legal confusion;
  • Revises the scope of HHS’s enforcement of Section 1557; and
  • Complies with all applicable federal civil rights laws, including conscience and religious freedom protections.

The proposed rule is temporarily available here.

(Note: This HHS-approved document is being submitted to the Office of the Federal Register for publication and has not yet been placed on public display or published in the Federal Register. This document may vary slightly from the published document if minor editorial changes are made during the review process. The document that will be published in the Federal Register is the official HHS-approved document. The Federal Register posting date is unknown at this time.)

A fact sheet on the proposed rule is available here.

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