Will partisan gridlock always be on the Congressional menu? Or are there some issues on which Democrats and Republicans can work together?
“The only thing limiting bipartisanship is the willingness to try,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., during a webinar held by the Insured Retirement Institute. The IRI webinar focused on ways Congress can move from gridlock to action to help address Americans’ financial and retirement challenges.
“There is intense pressure from all sides to spend time and energy on scandals and tweets. It’s easy to get distracted by that,” Sinema said. “What is hard is reaching out from your comfort zone to get things done. All the finger-pointing and pot-stirring that goes on cable TV doesn’t provide people with jobs.”
Sinema, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, pointed to the Senior Security Act of 2021 as an example of a bill that she believes has enough support from both sides to become law. The creates a “Senior Investor Taskforce” within the Securities and Exchange Commission charged with identifying problems senior investors encounter, including financial exploitation and cognitive decline, as well as identifying regulatory changes that could help senior investors.
The pandemic has made this issue of senior financial exploitation even more important, Sinema said. “Seniors been isolated for most of the pandemic. We provided direct financial aid to people who needed it as part of the COVID-19 relief efforts. That was good news for seniors, but that cash relief was catnip to fraudsters. We want to make sure we stop them.”
Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., said taking bipartisan steps to get smaller bills passed paves the way for bipartisan efforts to pass bills with more far-reaching impacts.
“You have to build trust relationships across the aisle,” he said. “An opportunity to reach out to colleagues across the aisle to build relationships helps us face the bigger challenges ahead.”
Steil, a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said he believes legislation surrounding retirement issues is most likely to receive bipartisan support.
“We want to make it easy for Americans to save for retirement, to get the government to step out of the way, and to let employers and workers find creative solutions to save for retirement.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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