Senator Joe Donnelly

Donnelly, Young Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging Solution to Retiree Pension Crisis

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to the co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans encouraging members to now reach a bipartisan agreement that provides legislative recommendations to Congress this year on the pending pension crisis.

The Joint Select Committee, chaired by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), was created as part of the overall budget compromise enacted in February 2018. The committee was required to hold at least five public meetings and is tasked with crafting recommendations and a legislative solution by the end of November. If the Committee can reach agreement, then that proposal will be guaranteed an expedited vote in Congress.

The Senators wrote in their letter, in part, “We are appreciative of your efforts and that of the other 14 members of the Committee to hold five public meetings and hear directly from retirees, workers, and businesses affected by the pension crisis. Now the hard work begins…Finding a solution will not be easy, but it is essential that the members of the Committee put partisanship aside and come together to provide certainty to the millions of Americans counting on Congress to demonstrate sensible governance.”

Without congressional action, the nearly 195 multiemployer pension plans listed by the U.S. Department of Labor as in critical or endangered status could fail, potentially leading to the collapse of the federal pension insurance program, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). This would impact thousands of Hoosier Teamsters and mineworkers, among others, who earned their pensions over decades of work.

Joining Donnelly and Young on the letter were Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

To read the Senators’ full letter to the Joint Select Committee co-chairs, see below or click here.

September 27, 2018 

The Honorable Orrin Hatch

Co-Chair

Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans   

The Honorable Sherrod Brown

Co-Chair

Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans

Dear Co-Chairs Hatch and Brown:

Thank you for your leadership of the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans. We are appreciative of your efforts and that of the other 14 members of the Committee to hold five public meetings and hear directly from retirees, workers, and businesses affected by the pension crisis.

Now the hard work begins. We are optimistic that your findings will help facilitate a much needed solution, and we appreciate your commitment to conducting bipartisan Member meetings. The Committee has been tasked with providing recommendations and a legislative solution by the final week of November. Absent a bipartisan agreement, there are 1.5 million Americans at risk of losing their pensions with the potential failure of the 195 multiemployer pension plans listed by the U.S. Department of Labor as in critical or endangered status.

Additionally, if these pension plans fail, taxpayers could ultimately be on the hook through the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which insures pension plans and would subsequently be responsible for paying benefits.

Finding a solution will not be easy, but it is essential that the members of the Committee put partisanship aside and come together to provide certainty to the millions of Americans counting on Congress to demonstrate sensible governance.

Once again, thank you for your leadership and efforts to solve the pension crisis once and for all. We look forward to reviewing your recommendations in the coming months.

About Brian Scott

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