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The Employee Benefits Agenda of the New Administration and Congress

Worldwide Employee Benefits Network [WEB]

Feb. 18, 2021
Recorded Online

For the first time in over a decade Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress – albeit with very narrow margins in the Senate and House of Representatives.  Addressing the COVID-19 is the first order of business – and the legislative response will certainly involve health and retirement policy measures to respond to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic. Among the top tier issues will be the role of employers in administering vaccines and what parameters employers will be allowed or required to apply to their workforces.

President Biden has pledged to build upon the Affordable Care Act.  Yet, anything he and Congress will do will unfold under the shadow of the forthcoming Supreme Court decision concerning the fate of the law.  As partisan as health policy will continue to be, there is a remarkable level of bipartisanship concerning retirement policy with Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress developing far-ranging proposals concerning both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans.  In addition, states and localities continue to enact paid leave laws as Congress and the new administration contemplate a federal response.  

With all of this happening along with extensive activity by regulatory agencies, 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most consequential years ever for employee benefits.

Program Speaker: Jim Klein, President, American Benefits Council

Jim Klein is president of the American Benefits Council. He joined the Council in 1988 as Deputy Executive Director and has served as Executive Director/President since 1992. Previously, Jim was manager of pension and health care policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and, before that, practiced law for a Washington, D.C. firm specializing in employee benefits. He also worked as a Legislative Assistant for a member of Congress. Jim serves on the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plan’s Government Liaison Committee and was the recipient of the 2018 Public Service Award from that organization. He is a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a member of the editorial advisory board of Benefits Quarterly. In the global benefits arena, Jim serves as a private sector advisor to the Working Party on Private Pensions of the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and the Council is actively engaged with several international organizations representing the interests of U.S.-based companies operating outside the United States. Jim graduated with a degree in bioethics from Tufts University and a law degree from the George Washington University School of Law.

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