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Chairman Neal to Introduce Legislation to Address the Multiemployer Pension Crisis

January 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC— This afternoon, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) will introduce the Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 – an updated version of the Butch Lewis Act – legislation to address the worsening multiemployer pension crisis that threatens the savings of more than a million American workers and retirees. This is the first bill Chairman Neal will introduce in the 117th Congress, just as the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act was the first piece of legislation he introduced in the 116th Congress.

“The COVID-19 economic downturn has only worsened the multiemployer pension crisis and increased the urgency with which we must act to help folks whose financial security is at risk,” said Chairman Neal. “The workers and retirees enrolled in these failing plans did everything right – they put away money year after year to save for their futures, even forgoing pay raises to do so. I’m committed to getting a solution to this crisis signed into law as quickly as possible, and have even urged Speaker Pelosi to include a multiemployer fix in the next COVID relief legislation the House considers. We cannot allow more than a million men and women to lose their hard-earned savings when we have the ability to stabilize these plans. Passing this legislation is simply the right thing to do.”

About 10 million Americans participate in multiemployer pension plans, and roughly 1.3 million of them are in plans that are quickly running out of money. The economic catastrophe resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the multiemployer pension crisis and put the pensions of even more workers and retirees at risk. Without action, these plans threaten to bankrupt the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), shutter thousands of businesses, and devastate communities across the country.

The Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 is a standalone version of a provision from the House-passed Heroes Act. In 2019, the Ways and Means Committee and the full House of Representatives both passed Chairman Neal’s Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the Butch Lewis Act.

A summary of the Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 is available HERE.

Full text of the legislation can be found HERE.

 

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