In late July, the House passed the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the Butch Lewis Act, in a 264-169 vote. Supporters of the legislation hope that it will stabilize and strengthen struggling multiemployer pension plans. Specifically, if the bill becomes law, the legislation would establish an office within the Department of the Treasury called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration, along with a trust fund, which would allow the government to offer low-interest loans to critical, declining status, or insolvent pension plans.
Supporters of the bill claim that the legislation will not only protect the 10 million Americans who have a pension, but also the economy as a whole as the pension crisis threatens workers’ ability to retiree and support themselves after retirement. The bill would also take pressure off of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that pays out benefits if a pension fails. Opponents of the bill claim the legislation is another private sector bailout that will not fix the root problem of overpromised benefits by unions and employers.
The legislation will move next to the Senate, where its future is unclear.