As the debate over Social Security reform reaches the boiling point in Washington, the Investment Company Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute are urging employers to step up their use of automatic enrollment for 401(k) plans to help shore up the retirement savings of millions of American workers.

The two Washington-based institutes are also calling for higher contribution rates when new employees default, or in other words, when they fail to declare the percentage they'd like removed from their paychecks.

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