Baucus Works to Find Solutions to Pension Reform
Senator Listens to Concerns of Business, Labor, and Academic Leaders
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) In the recent wake of collapsed pensions and retirement security ofmillions of Americans in question, U.S. Senator Max Baucus joined Senator Kennedy in meetingwith business, labor, and academic leaders to discuss solutions for pension reform. The senatorssponsored the forum to bring differing viewpoints together and to find common ground on theissues of retirement security between the groups.
“There is heavy lifting to do on this country’s defined benefit system, and we aredetermined to do the hard work the right way - giving proper, thoughtful, consideration to theimpact of changes on all of the affected parties,” Baucus said. “The input we received today isinvaluable in developing solutions. I believe we can find answers that are good for participantsand good for responsible employers.”
During today’s meeting, Baucus emphad that employees and retirees bear the brunt ofunder-funded pension plans. Baucus said funding rules need to be strengthened based onconcern for workers’ retirement security. During the discussion, Baucus noted that definedbenefit funding is an issue that must be addressed.
“We want to reward, not punish, employers who provide good benefits - employers whochoose to reward long service with a secure retirement,” Baucus said. “But we also have tomake sure that secure retirement is funded with more than employers IOU’s.”
Baucus, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, heard testimony and personalaccounts of the devastating effects the United Airlines pension program collapse had on thecompany, employees, and its employees’ families earlier this month. Soon after, Senator Baucusalong with Chairman Grassley, sent a letter to Executive Director of the Pension BenefitGuarantee Corporation, Bradley Belt, asking him for information regarding the most severelyunder-funded pensions, information only made available to members of Congress.
“It is unconscionable that workers should spend thirty or forty years working for anemployer, then lose retirement benefits they were told they had earned for all that dedication andservice,” Baucus said. “Our goal is retirement security for working Americans, and the more wecan learn about this problem, the sooner we will be able to take the necessary steps to fix it.”
Senator Baucus continues to work with Senator Grassley on a pension reform packagebuilt on the National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee (NESTEG) Act the twosenators introduced earlier this year.
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