Rubio Pitches Giving All Americans Access to the TSP

Molly Riley/AP

All Americans should have access to the same retirement savings plan as federal employees, according to a Republican lawmaker. But a spokeswoman for the plan said opening it to the general public might not be in the best interest of current participants.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to overhaul the nation’s retirement system, including a provision to give any American without employer-sponsored defined contribution retirement benefits access to the Thrift Savings Plan. The plan is similar to one proposed by President Obama in his most recent State of the Union address, which would give all Americans access to the TSP’s government securities (G) fund.

Rubio called the TSP “one of the most efficient savings plans in America,” because it charges a fraction of the fees its private-sector equivalents charge.

“So the twisted irony is that members of Congress -- who are employees of the citizens of the United States -- have access to a superior savings plan, while many of their employers -- the American people -- are often left with access to no plan at all,” Rubio said during a speech in Washington, D.C., to announce his proposals.

Giving the American people access to the TSP would allow millions of people to maintain a “secure, comfortable and independent retirement,” he added.

The agency that administers the TSP, however, expressed significant concern with the plan.

By granting access to the TSP to non-federal workers, “we would be greatly diluting our focus on our participants,” Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board spokeswoman Kim Weaver told Government Executive. She added getting the necessary data from millions of private employers across the country would “require a completely different set of operational capabilities” than the agency currently possesses.

Weaver said the board is still awaiting the details of Rubio’s proposal.

“The FRTIB's responsibility is to act solely in the interest of our participants and beneficiaries,” she said. “That is the standard by which we will evaluate the proposal put forward by the senator.”

Rubio also suggested eliminating the payroll tax for working Americans older than 65 years, jettisoning the retirement earnings test and raising the retirement age for those currently less than 55 years old. He also advocated for reforming Medicare into a “premium support” system, similar to that advocated by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.  

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.