Kaptur leads the charge with Democratic leaders to protect workers’ pensions from drastic cuts
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), today joined her Congressional colleagues in introducing legislation to protect retirees invested in multiemployer pension funds. Democratic Congressional leadership released the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, also known as the “Butch Lewis Act” in honor of an Ohio Teamster. The bill would establish stability in troubled plans through the issuance of low-interest, 30-year loans by a newly created Pension Rehabilitation Administration. In Ohio, there are nearly 50,000 retirees in the Central States Pension Fund and thousands more in the nearly 100 multiemployer pension plans whose retirement income is in jeopardy absent congressional action.
“The retirement plan you work for and pay for shouldn't be bait for Wall Street’s insatiable gambling enterprise that leaves retirees in the lurch. How many times will working Americans be asked to pay for the casino-like investment schemes that put safe and secure retirement at risk," asked Kaptur. “Our retirees have been sounding the alarm on this for three years and this bill is an earnest attempt to make sure we keep the promises made to them in their pensions."
Watch the live stream of the press conference here.
“Through no fault of their own, thousands of retirees are facing drastic cuts to their pensions while others are already living the experience of cuts, some upwards of seventy percent. Whether it is protecting or expanding Social Security, defending tax-exempt status of 401ks or keeping pension promises, Americans need to know we’re fighting for their financial stability and security,” Kaptur continued.
“I thank all of our House cosponsors and Senator Sanders for their work on the Keep Our Pension Promises Act in the House and Senate, the precursor to the bill we introduce today. After the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act was slipped into the end of the year spending bill in 2014, these champions for working people worked tirelessly to try and right the wrong dealt to our retirees. Today, with the introduction of the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, we advance the fight for pension fairness," concluded Kaptur.
In May, Kaptur and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) re-introduced legislation, originally introduced in 2015, to protect the pensions of up to 10 million workers and retirees. The Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPPA) would reverse a provision passed in 2014 that could result in deep pension cuts for millions of retirees and workers in multi-employer pension plans. For more on Kaptur’s work click here: Kaptur Multiemployer Legislative Work.pdf
In December 2014, Congress approved and the president signed a spending bill that included provisions that allow for dramatic cuts to financially troubled multiemployer pensions. Under this provision, the pension benefits of retirees could be cut by 70 percent or more. Before the law was changed, it was illegal for an employer to cut the pension benefits retirees had earned.
Kaptur’s bill, KOPPA establishes a legacy fund within the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to ensure that multiemployer pension plans can continue to provide pension benefits to every eligible American for decades to come. This legislation is paid for by closing two tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. For a one-pager on KOPPA bill click here.