Democrats seek pension fix in budget caps deal

  • January 30, 2018

Democrats seek pension fix in budget caps deal

Multiemployer pension plans continue to be a sticky issue for Congress, according to POLITICO.

Democratic leaders are demanding a legislative fix for insolvent multiemployer pensions as part of a deal to raise caps on domestic and military spending.

“First, we need a caps deal,” one Senate Democratic staffer said. “Democrats are insisting that money to shore up the [multiemployer] pension funds be part of that.”

Staff from the offices of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have been negotiating for two months about legislation to shore up multiemployer pensions, which are negotiated with multiple employers by labor unions. Two major multiemployer plans — the Teamsters’ Central States pension fund and the United Mine Workers pension fund — are projected to go bust if no solution is found.

Democrats favor a bill introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown, S. 2147 (115), that would create a new agency within Treasury that could issue bond-backed loans to faltering pension plans.

Democrats tried to attach an amendment that included the text of the pension bill to a four-week CR to end the government shutdown, but were rebuffed by Republicans. Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the Democratic plan would cost $60 billion, but CBO has yet to score the bill.