Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Developmentby Representative Susan W. Brooks
Posted on 2014-12-11
BROOKS of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to thank
Chairman Kline, Ranking Member Miller, and Dr. Roe for working
tirelessly on this incredibly difficult piece of legislation that I
know impacts so many people.
As you have heard, on the Health Subcommittee, we had over six different hearings on this matter examining the difficulties facing troubled multiemployer plans and the looming insolvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation that is tasked with backstopping pension plans.
During those hearings, I heard from the president of North America's Building Trades Unions that said ultimately: ``In order for individual pensioners to receive benefits from our plans, the plans themselves must be preserved.'' Mr. Speaker, without this Kline-Miller pension reform, the insolvency of these plans is exactly what will happen, ultimately hurting those most in need.
Just last month, PBGC released its annual report which showed the deficit in this insurance program has increased from $8.3 billion to $42.4 billion in just 1 year. At this rate, the PBGC anticipates the plans will become insolvent in the next decade. That means pensioners won't even be able to count on the minimum to backstop programs that are terminal.
We must act now to give the trustees of these plans the tools necessary to allow the unions and their members the opportunity to salvage the multiemployer pension model. The longer we wait, the more the problem grows, and the more painful it becomes for pensioners and employers alike.
Our constituents didn't send us here to take the easy path, but rather to do the hard work that must be done. That is why so much is at stake, and that is why this provision is so necessary.
I urge its passage.