Entries in Senate Finance Committee (2)


Senate Finance Committee Hearing on New Retirement Options

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With less than one-half of workers having access to a retirement plan and even fewer saving enough for their old age, Congress is looking at ways to help get more Americans on track to a secure retirement.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee will listen to proposals from a range of interests. On the table are such ideas as revamping the tax treatment of 401(k) plans to make the system more automatic, and possibly adding caps to make contributions less tax-favorable to higher-income workers.

The hearing comes as the so-called retirement deficient income, the gap between the pension and retirement plans Americans have today and what is necessary to maintain living standards, is at a high of $6.6 trillion, according to the Retirement Research Center.

A series of hearings are expected to take place that will look at the economy and tax code. The Finance Committee is expected to make recommendations to the new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with finding $1.6 trillion in savings to curb the federal budget deficit.

One controversial proposal comes from the Brookings Institute. Senior Fellow William Gale will talk about reinventing 401(k)s by substituting the current deduction for contributions with a flat-rate refundable credit that would be deposited directly into the saver's account.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Senate Finance Committee to Hear from Big Oil Execs at Hearing Thursday

Comstock Images/Thinksto(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Montana's Sen. Max Baucus, will hold a hearing Thursday morning with the executives of the five oil companies targeted by the Democrats’ new bill, called the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act.

The new measure is intended to scrap $2 billion in tax subsidies each year for the five largest and most profitable oil companies and, in turn, apply the savings to paying down the federal deficit.  

The committee will ask John Watson, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Chevron Corporation; Marvin Odum, U.S. President of Shell Oil; H. Lamar McKay, Chairman and Presidnt of BP America Inc.; James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; and Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, to defend the subsidies, especially in the wake of recent high oil company profits.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday said he plans to kick off debate on the new bill on Wednesday, with a vote scheduled “in the next week.”
“Every year oil companies get billions of dollars of subsidies from the American taxpayers,” Reid said. “Common sense tells us these oil companies do not need these huge subsidies. We've had executives of these oil companies who have said so in the past. Recently the former CEO of Shell has said that. And economists recognize that these subsidies, if we took them away, would not affect gas prices at all."

Reid continued, "The only purpose these subsidies serve is to line the pockets of these oil companies. The most effective way to bring down the deficit is to start now and make good, smart choices. Putting seniors ahead of oil companies should be a no-brainer.”

But the Democrats face an uphill battle in passing their measure. It will need 60 votes to advance, a long shot in a chamber where there are only 53 Democrats and even some of them -- like Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu -- don’t support the measure. Republicans have vociferously opposed the bill.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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