Today, the House Committee on Education and Labor unveiled a new Multiemployer Pension Rescue Tracker to highlight the hard-earned pensions saved and businesses protected under Congressional Democrats’ and President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act. The multiemployer pension crisis – which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic – threatened to strip more than a million retirees of the pensions they earned over a lifetime of work, jeopardized tens of thousands of businesses and endangered tens of thousands of jobs.
In response, the American Rescue Plan Act created a Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program to avert the immediate crisis threatening the retirement security of American workers, retirees, and their families. This solution was supported by a diverse group of stakeholders, including the AFL-CIO, AARP, the United States Chamber of Commerce, UPS and scores of other employers who participate in multiemployer plans.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact present the most pressing challenges, Democratic control of Congress and the White House could also spur action on issues ranging from climate change to scrutiny of private equity practices.
Mr. Neal’s first bill introduced in the new 117th Congress addresses the multiemployer pension crisis that he said “has only worsened” in the COVID-19 economic downturn. A similar proposal was introduced by members of the House Education and Labor Committee, whose chairman, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-Va., said the pandemic could cause as many as 180 more multiemployer plans to become insolvent, adding up to 300 plans facing failure. Both leaders are urging that the proposed Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021 be attached to a COVID-19 relief measure now before Congress.
Potential legislation is expected to build on the panel’s climate action plan calling for clean energy tax credits and jobs initiatives, investments in water infrastructure and research into land and ocean climate solutions, among other ideas.