KENNEDY, ENZI, BAUCUS AND GRASSLEY AGREE ON PENSIONS BILL
WASHINGTON – The leaders of the two Senate committees with jurisdiction over pension issues today reached an agreement on a pension funding and reform bill, clearing the way for Senate consideration. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, Sen. Max Baucus, ranking member, Sen. Mike Enzi, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, ranking member, met and reached an agreement on the differences between their respective committee-passed pension bills.
Grassley said, “The poor state of our nation’s pension plans is on a lot of Americans’ minds. Not long ago, workers used to be pretty sure of a good pension plan. That’s not the case anymore. There are a lot of reasons for that, some within Congress’ control and some not in our control. We need to fix the problems within our control. Today we’ve moved a step closer to a more secure pension system. Our consensus bill protects workers and taxpayers without overburdening companies. The Senate should pass it as soon as possible. Passage seems likely now that we have a bipartisan consensus from the two committees of jurisdiction.”
Baucus said, “We need to protect Americans who work all their lives and rely on pensions to provide a comfortable retirement. With recent airline bankruptcies, and corporate scandals devastating retirement security, we urgently need pension reform. The legislation that we have developed will help to secure retirement benefits that Americans have worked hard to earn.”
Enzi said, “Hard-working Americans who spend a lifetime earning their pensions deserve to reap the benefits they are promised in retirement. Our Committees have worked together to ensure that dreams for retirement can be a reality for millions – even in today’s fast-changing global marketplace. This compromise strikes a reasonable and practical balance between the financial needs of retirees and the financial resources of the employers funding their pension plans. It represents an all around victory for employees -- young and old, and employers -- large and small.”
Kennedy said, “Too many hardworking Americans lie awake at night worried about their retirement and whether or not it will be there when they need it. And now the devastation of Hurricane Katrina has torn apart the job security that millions had depended on. Now more than ever, workers deserve the support of Congress to preserve their hard-earned pensions. This bipartisan legislation will do just that and I am proud that we have reached an agreement that is now ready for full Senate consideration.”
The outline of their agreement follows.