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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:49 PM
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Senate Moving Toward Pension Bill Vote

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Senate Moving Toward Pension Bill Vote
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Aug 3, 10:25 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Thursday moved toward a vote on a far-reaching bill to add life to traditional employer-based pension plans and possibly skirt the need for a taxpayer bailout.

Leaders in both parties said they were committed to getting the bill to President Bush before the Senate adjourns this week for a four-week holiday. Efforts were afoot to vote Thursday night on the bill, which cleared the House last week.

Senators saved the pension vote for their last major act before leaving Washington, determined to have one significant accomplishment they could take back to their home states in what otherwise has been a spotty legislative year.

The bill sets new funding rules for employers with defined-benefit pension plans and clamps down on companies that have fallen in arrears in meeting their funding obligations. In order to make a dent in underfunding now estimated at $450 billion, the bill requires plans to be 100 percent funded, up from the current 90 percent level, giving companies seven years to reach that goal.

Plans that are seriously underfunded face restrictions, such as a ban on increasing benefits, and must make accelerated catch-up contributions.

"It will make an important difference to millions of workers," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., one of the chief negotiators of the House-Senate compromise. He noted that in the past five years, some $8 billion in pension savings have been lost as companies terminate their plans, shifting benefit responsibilities onto the federal agency that insures such plans, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

The White House has stressed that pension legislation will be acceptable only if it strengthens current funding requirements, and two chief House sponsors, Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., said the bill met that condition.

They cited figures they said showed that changes in the bill "significantly increase the amount of contributions employers must make to meet their pension promises."

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Eugene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 12:51 AM
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1. AP: Senate passes sweeping pension bill
Senate passes sweeping pension bill

Thursday, August 3, 2006; Posted: 11:13 p.m. EDT (03:13 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate approved and sent to the White House pension
legislation that could give millions of Americans a better chance of getting the
retirement benefits they've earned while sparing taxpayers from possibly paying
for failed pension plans.

The legislation, passed 93-5 late Thursday, also provides new incentives for young
workers to enroll in 401(k) plans, reflecting the trend away from traditional
employer-based pensions.


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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:03 AM
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2. Bzzzzzt.. This boat won't float
There are a lot of companies that have been using the pension (slush) fund money for decades,..They will just delcare bankruptcy and stiff the employees..and they will get a bankruptcy judge to invalidate the promises made to the employees.. (see any number of recent airline bankruptcy cases )..

It's another "feel-good" bill...signifying NOTHING
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 07:37 AM
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3. That Situation Isn't Covered in the Bill?
If not, I agree with you it's a feel-good bill. Dippping into the pension fund should be a criminal offense.
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