Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Ben Cardin, D-Md., received the Employee Benefit Research Institute's Lillywhite Award on Tuesday, presented each year to those who have made lifetime contributions toward enhancing Americans' economic security.
"Sens. Rob Portman and Ben Cardin have made significant strides in creating better access to retirement system, facilitating greater savings and reducing cost within the system as well," said Lori Lucas, president and CEO of EBRI, in presenting the award at Pensions & Investments' Defined Contribution West Conference in Carlsbad, Calif.
The award, which is named after pension pioneer Ray Lillywhite, honors those with remarkable careers in the retirement and investment management fields.
The senators are longtime champions of retirement issues and have worked together to advocate for retirement security legislation for many years. In May 2021, Mr. Portman and Mr. Cardin introduced the Retirement Security and Savings Act, which included more than 50 provisions aimed at bolstering Americans' retirement savings. The bill's provisions have been featured in Congress' various SECURE 2.0 bills, and previous iterations of the bill became a basis for the SECURE Act, which passed in 2019.
"What's most important about Sens. Portman and Cardin, the reason that they've been so successful, is that they've been able to reach across the aisle and work with each other and their own constituents to create bipartisan solutions," Ms. Lucas said Tuesday.
Mr. Cardin serves as chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee and is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, along with longtime member Mr. Portman. The Ohio senator, who currently serves as ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is retiring at the end of his term, as he previously announced he will not be running for re-election this November.