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WASHINGTON – Several examples of retirement accounts were discussed at a recent hearing on Social Security reform. Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) headed a panel discussion on May 5 titled Social Security Reform: Successes and Lessons Learned. Pryce is chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology. Witnesses gave testimony on the federal thrift savings plan (TSP) as well as numerous international reform efforts. “There are plenty of examples around us right now that show what works and what doesn’t when it comes to reforming Social Security,” Pryce said. “We can learn a lot from the successes and failures of the retirement and pension systems of other countries around the world.” According to Pryce, the range of foreign countries that have undertaken structural reform of their systems includes United Kingdom; Sweden; Hungary; Poland; Croatia; Chile; Argentina; Bolivia; Colombia; El Salvador; Mexico; and Uruguay. The hearing also examined TSPs, which have been cited as a model for the current effort at Social Security reform. TSP is a defined contribution retirement savings and investment plan for federal workers. The 1983 amendments to the Social Security Act required newly hired federal employees and Members of Congress to participate in Social Security. In 2000, participation in TSP was extended to members of the uniformed services and the Ready Reserve. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, an independent agency, governs the plan, which currently has three million investors, Pryce said. Investors have access to five fund choices. CUNA as well as bank trade groups have supported the inclusion of community banks, credit unions and savings associations in any Social Security reform legislation.

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