Key members of Congress want experts to see whether the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. can handle its job.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the most senior Democrat on the committee, have written to the U.S. Government Accountability Office to ask it to see whether the PBGC has the right structure and enough resources to oversee America’s defined benefit pension plans and to protect the workers and retirees who depend on the plans that fail.
Grassley and Baucus have asked the GAO to give them preliminary results by Jan. 31, 2007, before the Finance Committee begins the process of confirming the next permanent PBGC executive director.
The last permanent executive director, Bradley Belt, left the agency in May.
“The recently enacted Pension Protection Act of 2006 strengthened the long-term funding of defined benefit plans and provided legal clarity for hybrid plans in the future, yet we continue to read in the press of numerous companies terminating or freezing their defined benefit pension plans,” Grassley and Baucus write in their letter. “Whatever the future holds for defined benefit plans, these plans remain a key retirement security component for today’s older workers and retirees. We must be sure that the PBGC is both structured properly and performing properly to deal with these new challenges.”