Leaders of 2 Senate committees have reached an agreement that paves the way for passage of a defined benefit pension bill that includes a section on corporate-owned life insurance.[@@]
Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the most senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, ironed out differences between a bill approved by their committee and a similar bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Health Committee, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., the most senior Democrat on that committee, represented the Health Committee.
The compromise bill, the Pension Security and Transparency Act, will now move to the full Senate, which is expected to vote on the measure in the next 2 weeks.
Tim VandenBerg of Washington Analysis, Washington, says the Senate agreement “sets the stage for Senate passage” as early as this week.
The House also wants to pass a pension bill, and that means the bill could be approved by early 2006, VandenBerg says.
Under the Senate bill, most companies with underfunded pension plans will have to bring their plans to full solvency in 7 years, but airlines are allowed 14 years.
The bill also changes the rules that pension plan sponsors the low bond ratings must follow when calculating pension plan values. The changes are designed to make shortfalls more apparent, and companies operating under these “at risk” rules would still be required to bring their pension plans into solvency within 7 years, according to the bill text