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U.S. House Passes Bipartisan Bill Spanberger Cosponsored to Address Multiemployer Pension Crisis, Secure Stronger Future for Central Virginia Workers & Retirees

Legislation Would Make Sure Retirees & their Families Receive the Pension Benefits They’ve Earned, Safeguard Multiemployer Pension Plans from Collapse

Washington, July 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives in passing legislation to make sure Central Virginia retirees receive the benefits they’ve earned through their hard work.

Currently, there are about 1,400 multiemployer pension plans covering approximately 10 million workers and retirees across the country—including in Central Virginia. Although multiemployer plans have been historically successful, a significant number of these plans now have funding problems, with many on the path to almost certain insolvency amid $553 billion of unfunded liabilities. If these plans collapse, millions of retirees, workers, and their families would lose benefits through no fault of their own.

The House-passed Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act—which Spanberger cosponsored earlier this year—would stabilize these multiemployer plans and prevent harsh cuts to the benefits of workers and retirees. Upon passage, Spanberger also called on the U.S. Senate to take up this critical legislation for a vote on the Senate floor.

“Across the country, the looming multiemployer pension crisis is a ticking financial timebomb. The collapse of this system would mean millions of workers could face devastating cuts to their benefits, and taxpayers could be on the hook for a major bailout. Clearly, we need to act now,” said Spanberger. “Yesterday, I joined Democrats and Republicans in passing legislation that would protect the retirement security of millions of Americans and make sure hardworking men and women have the long-term peace of mind they deserve. Central Virginians who work hard, play by the rules, and responsibly save for a secure retirement should never be unfairly punished for the mismanagement of their pensions. They did the right thing, and now I’m calling on the Senate to take up this legislation and do the same.”

“We thank Congresswoman Spanberger for standing with the hard working and tax-paying American workers whose retirement income security has continuously been threatened," said Doris Crouse-Mays, President, Virginia AFL-CIO. "Working Americans are no less worthy than the financial services firms who benefited from a $700 billion rescue program in 2008. The Senate should follow the House's lead and pass the Bruce Lewis Act to protect the pensions of more than one million union workers and retirees whose multi-employer pensions are at risk—through no fault of their own.”

Specifically, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act would allow the U.S. Treasury Department to loan money—leveraged by safe investments—to failing multiemployer pensions plans. Additionally, the bipartisan legislation would enact safeguards to make sure pension plans remain solvent, so that these plans responsibly manage their funds and can meet their commitments to workers and their families for decades to come.

The bipartisan Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act—also known as the Butch Lewis Act—is led by U.S. Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA-01) and Peter King (R-NY-03).

Click here to read a summary of the bill.

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