Press Releases

DelBene Introduces Bill to Provide Every Child in America with Economic Opportunity

The 401Kids Savings Act would create children’s savings accounts for every American child

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Don Beyer (VA-08), and Joyce Beatty (OH-03) joined Senators Bob Casey (PA), Ron Wyden (OR), and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) to introduce legislation that would create universal children’s savings accounts (CSAs) that will help children nationwide start saving and building assets throughout their lifetime.

In a historic first, millions of younger adults are on track to have less wealth than their parents at a similar age. The 401Kids Act would provide the “start-up capital” that will give most American children, especially those from middle- and working-class families, the freedom to afford college, own a home or start a small business to start life on the right track.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background, family's income, or where they live. Unfortunately, millions of young Americans are on track to have less wealth than their parents did at their age. This is especially true for low-income families and communities of color,” said DelBene. “This legislation would create universal children’s savings accounts and serve as an important step toward providing children with a financial foundation that will set them up for a successful future, helping them to better afford college, buy a home, or start a business.” 

“Wealth inequality is one of the most intractable challenges facing our nation; it perpetuates injustice, slows economic growth, and fosters political dysfunction. Our bill would help reverse this worsening trend by ensuring that all children entering adulthood have the means to invest in their future,” said Beyer. “The positive effects of 401Kids accounts would go far beyond the children and their families who get accounts, because we know that when young adults can pursue education, start businesses, and buy homes, it creates economy-wide benefits. I thank Senator Casey and our other colleagues and partners for their leadership on this crucial legislation.”

“Empowering children, particularly those from middle- and working-class families, to save and build wealth throughout their lifetime will instill financial capability in our young people, pave the way to lasting economic prosperity, and accomplish meaningful progress towards mending the racial wealth gap,” said Beatty. “As co-chair of the Financial Literacy and Wealth Creation Caucus, I am honored to lead the bicameral 401Kids Savings Act with Reps. Beyer and DelBene to give America’s youth the head start they need to pursue a degree, buy a home, or start a small business, enabling them to achieve a bright future.”

“A lack of income means you can’t get by, but a lack of wealth means you can’t get ahead,” said Casey. “As American families grapple with rising costs, they deserve a way to save not just for their future, but for their children’s future. My 401Kids Savings Act would provide every child in this Nation with the cushion they need to take risks and pursue opportunities to create generational wealth.”

“For too many Americans, the promise of the American Dream seems out of reach,” said Schumer. “The 401Kids Saving Act would invest in our nation’s youth and make it easier for future generations of children to build savings, escape poverty and obtain economic security. No one should miss out on the opportunity to go to college, own a home, or start a business because they don’t come from a wealthy family. This legislation would ensure that every child in America has much more ability to reach their full potential.”

“Part of the story of America is that anybody can get ahead with enough hard work and determination, but with every passing generation, young people are feeling less confident that that kind of opportunity still exists for them. It’s hard to climb the economic ladder when you’re buried under student loan debt or held down by the rising cost of housing,” said Wyden. “Senator Casey’s bill is about restoring economic opportunity for young people with a smart approach that will give kids a brighter future, put families on stronger financial footing and pay dividends for our economy nationwide. I’m proud to come from a state that’s an innovator when it comes to helping working people save and build a nest egg, and Senator Casey’s bill is a great opportunity to build on that success.”

Based on local models around the Nation, this legislation would create children’s savings accounts that would be built on state 529 college savings platforms and managed by state Treasurers. Once the accounts are established for all newborns and kids under age 18, families, non-profits, employers, foundations, and others could contribute to a 401Kids Account which, starting at age 18, could be used for post-secondary education and training, a small business, a first home or retirement security. While all families could contribute up to $2,500 per year to the accounts, only lower- and moderate-incomes families would receive direct federal support.

For every dollar invested in 401Kids, society would receive at least $2.61 in benefits associated with increased income, improved health, additional tax revenues, and savings to other government sectors.

DelBene has long led efforts to uplift America’s children and ensure they have the resources and support they need to thrive. DelBene championed legislation that would permanently expand the Child Tax Credit, the largest tax cut for middle-class and working families in generations, which resulted in a historic reduction in child poverty in 2021. This bill reaffirms that commitment to ensuring that every child has a fair chance at success.

This bill is endorsed by the Alfond Scholarship Foundation, The Aspen Institute, Financial Security Program, California CSA Coalition, Change Machine; Children's Assets Policy Collaborative, City of St. Paul, MN; Commonwealth, Compass Working Capital, Grand Challenge for Social Work, Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, National Association of Social Workers, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Northern California College Promise Coalition, SaverLife, Social Work Grand Challenge to Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality, and Vestwell.