Not The Same!

Yesterday, we reported that Congressman Neal (D, MA) had introduced pension reform legislation titled Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 (EPPRA) on January 21st. We were also led to believe that the legislation bore similarities to the Butch Lewis Act (BLA). Having gone through the 37 pages of legislation several times, I’m sorry to inform you that it doesn’t. Not even close. In fact, apples and oranges have more in common.

Believe me, I am pleased that Congress is once again taking up pension reform, as millions of Americans are at risk of losing their promised benefits, but I would have hoped that a long-term fix was going to be part of any plan, especially since we already had terrific legislation passed by the House in July 2019 (BLA). I’m afraid that isn’t the case with this legislation. Don’t get me wrong, there are elements worth fighting for as participants that had benefits previously cut will be made whole, which is wonderful news. DB plans struggling to fund orphan participants will be able to partition (offload) those obligations to the PBGC and the maximum multiemployer benefit covered by the PBGC, which is now $12,870, will be enhanced. All good! But many of the current Critical and Declining plans are not going to return to health just through partitioning.

Why is it that the BLA isn’t the legislation of choice? The BLA would secure benefits for All Retired Lives. Instead of starting over by filing new proposed legislation in the House, why not push for the BLA to be taken up in the Senate? Both chambers of Congress are controlled by the Democrats, who passed the BLA in the first place. You would think that they would exert a little muscle and try to get their preferred legislation enacted.

We will continue to provide updates on this developing story. Stay tuned.

4 thoughts on “Not The Same!

  1. I left some info on Russ, on your FB Page, it started with this comment, “Could it be, the actual excuse given, “That Plans Wouldn’t/Couldn’t Pay the Loans back?” Or a questionable CBO score, that if memory served was a constantly moving target ?? Was it Sen. Alexander that requested and got his own CBO score… I’ll have to go back and look at that. Either way Pensioners are pretty excited that the opportunity for this to be resolved with Full Benefits could finally be here. We @ TPC are into our 6th year of intense work to get the Research, History, and Activism. All that is left from the eight original founders is down to two of us, Gale Gale McIntire
    any myself. Everyone in all the 60 some committees are Tired VERY Tired. We thank You Russ for EVERYTHING, it was such a great event in finding you, with your experience in bringing the BLA, and I agree the BLA Would WORK for MEPPs but also Could be the Salvation of the Public Plans too. If our base could reach out that far, imagine the power of those numbers. If legislators could only open their eyes to be bigger picture ??

    • Jul 26, 2019 ‘TPC’ Post # 3665 … Found old comment I had made, “(7/26)…In Trying to make sense of THIS latest CBO cost determination, I ran into this paragraph from the WSJ article in Post # 3673…*”The Congressional Budget Office, which came up with the $48.5 billion price tag, said it is difficult to predict the cost of the type of rescue plan lawmakers are contemplating because it isn’t clear under which conditions the loans could be forgiven. The estimated cost of the bill fell by $16 billion after representatives added a tax provision unrelated to multiemployer pensions that requires inherited retirement accounts to face taxes faster than under current law. **… So Looking Thru This Again, it appears that the Figure Given of $64.4B by CBO on July 9th just prior to Ways&Means Mark Up, and used in that Hearing…is NOW…$48.5B from this July 23rd CBO updated estimate of Cost and give the very hard to follow break downs Need Edward R. Bob Coombs
      to check this out an interpret…). This $16B saving is ingenious … but hard to wrap your head around, THOSE under the MPRA benefit reductions (“14” Funds and “43,000” Retirees) are part of The REQUIRED BY LAW Group, that Must Apply, by law for the BLA Loan Program, of course subject to the bill being passed.. Their Cost for Loans is stated as $3.6B. But this NEW Development reduces Cost from $64.4B to $48.5B… it further breaks down which part is LOANS and what part are GRANTS…LOANS to be paid back, and GRANTS given to those plans for which Loans alone are not enough. CSPF being the greatest recipient… then a few others with the highest Liabilities … So that WSJ article gives us something we did not know before, another great benefit of a cheaper COST SOLUTION than the WANTS of a Pure PBGC Bail Out, which would cost much more, almost double or even greater ( $78B ??) **So Be Sure To Mention That RMPA/BLA is the most bang for the Buck** when You Start Working On Senate Folks**…

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