US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Statement on PBGC Projections Report

Monday, June 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s (PBGC) FY2013 Projections Report. Congress requires the agency to provide the Projections Report so that policymakers and the general public have a better understanding of the health of PBGC and the private pension system.  The HELP Committee is responsible for the oversight of the PBGC. 

“The PBGC is critically important to insuring the pension benefits of 42 million working Americans and retirees.  Unfortunately, the FY13 Projections Report paints a troubling picture for multiemployer pensions.  Many plans are doing well, but the pensions covering 1.5 million people - approximately 10 percent of the system - are projected to not have enough money to pay the promised benefits.  Although PBGC provides a modest guarantee, the Projections Report makes clear that the multiemployer insurance program is in grave danger and may not be there to pay all the guaranteed benefits.  This is a serious problem for workers, retirees, and employers, and the longer we wait, the harder it is to solve.   

“Despite the grim prospects for the multiemployer system, the Projections Report shows significant improvements for the single-employer pension program.  PBGC’s financial outlook is considerably better today than it was last year.  It is clear that further increases to PBGC premiums or drastic changes to the premium structure are simply not needed.  In fact, they would, in all likelihood, be detrimental to the single-employer system.”

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