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Senate passes House version of highway bill with eased pension funding


The U.S. Senate approved on Thursday the House version of a highway funding bill that includes more generous pension funding calculations.

The 81-13 vote extends the Highway Trust Fund, and language in the bill will allow defined benefit plans to continue using calculations that were slated to end with 2012 plan years until 2017.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated reduced pension contributions would raise $6.4 billion in tax revenue over 10 years.

The Senate vote on the original House bill — which was approved on July 15 — came as a result of the House rejecting the Senate version earlier on Thursday. That version only funded the Highway Trust Fund for nine months in order to force a more targeted long-range solution, and allowed plans fewer years to use funding stabilization rates.

The House and Senate had until Friday to approve a bill before the trust fund would run out of money.

Rob Kozlowski writes for Pensions & Investments, a sister publication of Business Insurance.