Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Retirement Security

Nov 17, 2017 Issues: Economy

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Congressman Tim Ryan, along with other House Democrats, introduced the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, which strengthens the retirement security of workers and guarantee the full benefits they have earned over a lifetime of hard work.

“Hardworking Americans are the true profit creators in our country. Their work is why any company is able to earn a profit. Pensions are not ‘benefits,’ they’re promises, and no business or company has a right to break them. Every day, hundreds of multi-employer pension funds move closer to insolvency, risking life-threatening cuts that jeopardize the economic security of countless families in Ohio and across the nation through no fault of their own,” said Rep. Tim Ryan “Families need to know that safeguards are in place to protect their benefits, and the secure retirements they’ve worked for. Democrats stand ready to provide that,”

All told more than 200 multiemployer plans across the country are projected to fail, many within the next 10 years.  These failures could devastate the retirement security of 1.5 million American workers and leave taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars when the federally insured plans collapse.

Democrats are committed to protecting American workers and the retirement they worked so hard to secure.  This legislation provides financing through the newly created Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA) to allow multi-employer pension plans to remain solvent and continue providing full retirement security for retirees and workers for decades to come.

The proposal allows qualifying pension funds to borrow money from the PRA to pay benefits, save money and purchase safe investments.   These loans, funded by the sale of long-term, low-risk Treasury-issued bonds, will allow pension funds to focus on investing resources into getting back to long-term solvency while giving pensioners the reassurance of knowing that their benefits will not be cut.  By guaranteeing the resources needed to pay promised benefits to hardworking families, this proposal gives pension funds the time they need to get back to a position of strength and stability. 

This Legislation is the House companion to Senator Brown’s Bill to ensure that Ohio retirees can keep the pensions they have earned.

In October, Ryan also introduced the Prioritizing Our Workers Act of 2017. This legislation revises the priorities section of the bankruptcy code to place unpaid vested benefits on the same level as bankruptcy attorneys’ fees and other highest-priority claims that a company must pay out in full before paying any other claims. Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ) is an original co-sponsor in the House, and  Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) also  joined Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in introducing The Keep Our Pension Promises Act, which would reverse a provision passed in 2014 that could result in deep pension cuts for millions of retirees and workers in multi-employer pension plans. The new legislation establishes a legacy fund within the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to ensure that multi-employer pension plans can continue to provide pension benefits to every eligible American for decades to come. This legislation is paid for by closing two tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.