Dear Chairman Scott and Ranking Member Foxx,
The AFL-CIO is pleased that tomorrow your Committee is taking the first step towards enactment of legislation to address our nation’s looming pension crisis by marking-up H.R. 397, the “Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act.”
Absent federal action, the retirement income security of over one million American workers, retirees, and pension beneficiaries across the country is in jeopardy because of the impending failure of their multiemployer pension plans. By establishing a federal loan program for troubled plans meeting certain criteria, H.R. 397 reflects the accurate recognition that allowing these plans to fail will have a devastating impact not only on individuals, but also on numerous companies, and the communities in which plan participants, retirees and beneficiaries reside.
The hard-working and tax-paying American workers whose retirement income security is at risk have not forgotten the 2008 record-setting federal rescue that provided hundreds of billions of dollars to troubled financial firms. These workers are no less worthy than J.P. Morgan Chase or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were the beneficiaries of that federal support. Indeed, unlike those entities, they played no part in creating the crisis at hand; throughout the years, they further have sacrificed wage increases in favor of contributions to their pension plan.
Congress has the ability to avert an impeding nation-wide crisis if it acts expeditiously. The “Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act” is important legislation because it puts a much-needed focus on, and offers a solution to, that crisis. On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I hope this bill will have the support of all members of your Committee.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department