Members of Congress and retirement experts are working feverishly to ensure that pension plan funding relief is enacted soon. James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council (ABC), said during a recent media briefing that the past 18 months have created a “perfect storm” of depressed financial markets, low interest rates, and new pension funding rules that have artificially inflated defined benefit pension obligations. “Millions of dollars, normally earmarked for job creation and capital investment, must now be poured into healthy pension funds whose obligations to pay out benefits will stretch over several decades,” Klein said. “The resulting immediate job losses, if no action is taken, could severely hamper our tenuous economic recovery.”
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota) said at the same briefing that “If left unaddressed, the issue of pension funding could throw a roadblock into our economic recovery.” Pension funding relief “would provide employers more cash on hand to save and create jobs and to inject into the economy, while giving workers enhanced job security and strengthened pension plans over the long term.” ABC says it’s backing the swift enactment of H.R. 3936, the Preserve Benefits and Jobs Act, introduced in the House by Pomeroy and Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), which in December 2009 was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). ABC also notes similar relief is included in various legislative proposals developed by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-California) and House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).