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Senators Smith, Warren Question Fidelity on Plans to Allow Bitcoin Investments for 401(k) Plans

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter questioning Fidelity’s decision to allow Bitcoin investments for 401(k) plans, saying that cryptocurrency is volatile and could risk retirement savings. The Senators ask the company to explain why they have failed to heed the Department of Labor’s warning about 401(k) crypto investments and raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest presented by Fidelity being both a Bitcoin miner and a purveyor of Bitcoin.  “We write to inquire about the appropriateness of your company’s decision to add Bitcoin to its 401(k) investment plan menu and the actions you will take to address “the significant risks of fraud, theft and loss” posed by these assets,” wrote the lawmakers. In recent months, DOL became aware of firms marketing investments in cryptocurrencies to 401(k) plans as potential investment options for plan participants. This spurred DOL to publish a Compliance Assistance Release in March reminding fiduciaries of their responsibilities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and highlighting the risks that cryptocurrency may pose to retirement accounts. The Department expressed “serious concerns regarding the prudence of a fiduciary’s decision to expose 401(k) plan’s participants to direct investments in cryptocurrencies” and cited “the significant risks of fraud, theft and loss” presented by these digital assets. Despite DOL’s warning, Fidelity last week announced its Digital Assets Account, which will allow individuals to have a portion of their retirement savings allocated to Bitcoin through their 401(k) plan. If this proposed plan moves forward, workers at companies

Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Incentivize Electrification, Boost American Manufacturing, and Lower Energy Costs

WASHINGTON [05.04.22] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined her colleagues to introduce legislation that would reduce residential building emissions and increase energy security. The bill, authored by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), would expand incentives for manufacturers and distributors of American-made building electrification products, such as HVAC equipment and water heating appliances. “The transition to clean energy is happening, the question is whether our country leads or follows. I want us to lead,” said Senator Smith. “If we do nothing, climate change will be an economic, environmental and public health disaster. The good news is that taking action on climate also presents an enormous economic opportunity. This legislation will incentivize adoption of heat pumps, which will help us use American-made clean electricity that increases our energy independence, lowers energy costs for families, reduces pollution, and protects the planet.” Currently, seven percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from residential buildings using fossil fuels for space heating, water heating, and space cooling. In addition to transforming the heat pump market, encouraging home electrification, and improving grid reliability, this legislation would also lower energy costs for consumers. The Installing Clean Efficient Energy Hastens Our Transition (ICEE HOT) Act will also require that 40 percent of funds be used to provide rebates to disadvantaged businesses or entities that employ disadvantaged individuals. Additionally, the bill would support unionized labor by directing 40 percent of rebate funds to manufacturers and distributors that meet strict labor standards and employ unionized workers. Additional co-sponsors of the include Senators Elizabeth

Tina Smith Sworn in as U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Wednesday

WASHINGTON, D.C. [1/03/19]—Today, Tina Smith (D-Minn.) was sworn in as U.S. Senator for Minnesota. Sen. Smith was elected to the seat in November, giving her a new term that runs until January, 2021. “It’s been an honor to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate for the past year and I’m excited to continue my work on behalf of all Minnesotans as the new Congress begins today,” Sen. Smith said.  “After traveling across Minnesota for the past year and hearing from people, I know that we still have a lot of work to do to bring economic opportunity to families, businesses and

U.S. Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Plan to Introduce Legislation to Ensure Low-Wage Federal Contract Employees Receive Back Pay

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/04/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), along with her colleagues Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), pledged to stand up for low-wage federal contract workers by announcing plans to introduce legislation to secure back pay for the contractor employees who have gone without pay during the government shutdown. Each day, thousands of contractor employees provide critical services to support the federal government, often at low wages, and many have been furloughed or forced to accept reduced work hours as a result of the government shutdown. Many

In Floor Speech, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith Shares Stories From Minnesota Air Traffic Controllers Hurt by Government Shutdown

WASHINGTON D.C. [01/10/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), took to the Senate floor to share letters from Minnesota air traffic controllers hurt by the ongoing government shutdown. Sen. Smith had asked Minnesotans to share stories on how the shutdown has affected them, and received dozens of letters from air traffic controllers not receiving pay.  Among the several letters she read on the Senate floor, Sen. Smith shared a letter from a new father named Joseph from Lakeville, MN. Joseph said that his son Oliver was born on New Year’s Eve and has been in intensive care since, and said that both he and

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Presses Trump Administration to Ensure Federal Contractor Workers Receive Back Pay Amid Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/10/19]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—along with 33 of her fellow Senate Democrats—called on the Trump Administration to direct federal agencies to work with contractors to provide back pay to compensate contractor employees for wages lost during the current shutdown. While Sen. Smith is working on legislation to ensure low-wage federal contractor employees receive back pay, she and her colleagues are also urging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to use existing authority to partner with federal contracting officers and use provisions to modify terms of contracts so employees receive lost wages. “Contract workers and their families