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House lawmakers call for bipartisanship to aid multiemployer plans


In a rare display of bipartisanship, a group of Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives pledged to work together to find solutions to ease the financial problems facing multiemployer pension plans and the federal insurance program that partially protects benefits promised to the plans' participants.

“We have an obligation to advance reforms that will modernize the system, encourage employer participation, protect taxpayers, and offer new tools to help rescue troubled plans,” Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Reps. George Miller, D-Calif., Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and John Tierney, D-Mass., said in a statement Monday.

“We continue to work together to find common ground and a responsible legislative solution. The American people deserve nothing less,” the representatives added.

The House lawmakers' pledge of bipartisanship came in the wake of a report released Monday by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. projecting that the agency's multiemployer pension plan insurance program's deficit will widen to $49.6 billion by 2023, up from $8.3 billion last year.

Without changes in law and/or premium increases, the insurance program “is more likely than not to run out of funds in eight years and highly likely to do so within 10 years,” the report said.