401(k) Auto Enrollment Not in Obama Budget

By Staff Report

May. 11, 2009

A proposal that would require automatic enrollment of participants in existing 401(k) plans was not included in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget, said Ed Ferrigno, vice president of the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America.

As recently as Thursday, May 7, Thomas E. Gavin, spokesman for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, had insisted that the proposal would be included in the detailed analysis of the budget that OMB released Monday, May 11.

However, the proposal was not included in either OMB’s budget analysis or in the Treasury Department’s official explanation of the budget details also released Monday, Ferrigno said.

“There was no doubt that it was in, and there’s no doubt that it’s out,” Ferrigno said in a telephone interview Monday, May 11.

At press time, Gavin said he was looking into the issue.

But Ferrigno said the deletion of the proposal was a win for employers.

“We’re grateful to the president,” said Ferrigno, who has been raising concerns about the plan since it was originally proposed early this year.

“What this action does is preserve the ability of employers to design plans that work for the business and the workforce,” Ferrigno said. “Our main concern was that any plan-design mandate would freeze plan innovation in its tracks.”

Filed by Doug Halonen of Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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