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Brown, Hatch to Chair Congressional Multiemployer-Pension Panel

March 5, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—The Congressional joint committee assigned to address collapsing multiemployer pension funds will be cochaired by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The 16-member bipartisan panel has until Nov. 30 to come up with legislation that would prevent pension plans such as the 400,000-member Teamsters Central States fund from dramatically slashing benefits—or going broke and taking down the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Any bill it proposes would need 10 votes to be sent to the House and Senate. Brown is lead sponsor of the Butch Lewis Act, which would create a federal agency to arrange 30-year loans that would enable troubled plans to salvage themselves, but Hatch has opposed similar ideas in the past. Other members include Reps. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Donald Norcross (D-N.J.), who are sponsoring a bill that would let multiemployer plans create pensions that would be hybrids of defined benefits and 401(k)-style savings plans; Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), House sponsor of the Butch Lewis Act; and House workforce committee chair Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who says reforms should be “fiscally responsible, bipartisan, and forward-looking.” About 1.5 million workers and retirees are in the about 200 endangered funds. Read more

March 5, 2018

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