The House voted 294-132 Thursday to pass pension reform legislation that includes several provisions sought by the life insurance industry.[@@]
Passed by a vote of 294-132, the Pension Protection Act, or H.R. 2830, includes provisions that would encourage employers to offer automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans as well as to allow sale of a “combination insurance product” that would let annuities include riders for long term care insurance coverage.
The bill also would clarify the rules governing the selection of annuities by an employer and the options an employer could offer employees through a 401(k) program.
The Senate passed its version of the pension reform bill in November.
Passage of the House version was smoothed after the sponsors of the bill, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, chairman of the Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee, won the support of the United Auto Workers by agreeing to make changes to some provisions in the bill.
Among those voting for the bill were 70 Democrats, including Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., the most senior member of the House, as well as Education & the Workforce Committee members Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., and Rep. Rob Andrews, D-NJ.
“I’m pleased a number of Democrats were willing to cross party lines and support this legislation on behalf of workers, retirees, and taxpayers alike,” Boehner says. “I hope this bipartisan cooperation continues as we work with the Senate to craft a final measure to send to President Bush.”
The House version of the bill does not include provisions addressing the needs of the airline industry, but Boehner told House members who expressed concern about the omission that airline industry language would be added to the bill during conference negotiations with the Senate.
Most of the floor debate about H.R. 2830 focused on provisions dealing with defined benefit pension plans and defined contribution retirement plans.