WASHINGTON – The Pension Rights Center released letters today strongly endorsing new multiemployer legislation introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA). The “Butch Lewis Act of 2017” and its House companion bill “The Rehabilitation of Multiemployer Pensions Act” provide an innovative way to avoid retiree benefit reductions by providing relief to financially-troubled plans.
“We want to thank Senator Brown and Congressman Neal for going to bat for hundreds of thousands of retirees across the country to ensure that they can depend on their pension promises” said Karen Friedman, the Executive Vice President of the Pension Rights Center. “This legislation provides an ingenious way of helping solve the multiemployer crisis in this country and is a win-win for employers, employees, retirees and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.”
These bills set up a new office in the Treasury Department called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA), which would receive proceeds from the issuance of Treasury bonds. This money would then be lent to financially-troubled plans as long as they meet certain criteria. The Pension Rights Center is particularly pleased that the loans would be used to fully pay the benefits of retirees and that the bill would require plans, which have already been approved to cut benefits under MPRA, to apply for these new loans and if approved, use that money to restore previously suspended benefits.
“This is a good, workable bill that allows plan trustees to avoid the draconian benefit reductions authorized by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014” Friedman said. “This is not a Democratic issue. This not a Republican issue. This is an American issue and we need to pass this legislation this year so that hundreds of thousands of retirees do not lose their earned and promised pensions, which will devastate them, their families and their communities.”
Senate Bill: S.2147
House Bill: H.R.4444