Skip to content

Ranking Member Cassidy Secures Commitment from Teamsters President to Return $127 Million in Taxpayer Funds Wrongfully Obtained in Democrats’ Pension Bailout

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, secured a commitment from Teamsters President Sean O’Brien to return $127 million in taxpayer dollars that was wrongfully paid to the Central States Pension Fund as part of the Democrats’ pension bailout. The Central States Pension Fund is primarily run by the Teamsters and is made up of the union’s workers and retirees. 

Earlier this month, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report disclosing that the PBGC overpaid the Central States fund by $127 million after the plan included 3,479 dead participants in its bailout request, as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). According to the PBGC OIG, the PBGC’s review process did not require cross-checking the plan participant list with Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Full Death Master File (Full DMF), despite this practice being a standard procedure across the industry and recommended by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  

Dr. Cassidy: “And it was mentioned earlier, I think by Mr. Higgins, that the Central States Pension Fund had received money to help bail out their, I think $36 billion or something like that, to bail out the arrears. My understanding is that the roster submitted by the Central States Pension Fund had nearly 3,500 dead individuals submitted to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation…But as a result of this, the pension fund was awarded $127 million in additional bailout money. Now, is the pension fund going to refund that to the American people?”

O’Brien: “Well I assume it would. And I assume the government would go after that.

Dr. Cassidy: “I think the administration's made the decision that they're not going to. That's actually the administration’s decision, that's actually not a taxpayer-type decision.”

O’Brien: “I'll go on record as saying if someone was given something they weren't entitled to, they should refund.”

For decades, the Central States Pension Fund was plagued by corruption and mismanagement, which led it to the brink of insolvency. According to the White House, before Central States received its ARPA bailout, it was the “largest financially distressed multiemployer pension plan in the nation.” 

In a letter sent to O’Brien, Cassidy urged the Central States Pension Fund to fulfill their commitment to return the $127 million overpayment to American taxpayers and requested information as to how the union will prevent this kind of poor mismanagement in the future. 

Watch the full exchange with O’Brien at the HELP Committee hearing here


For all news and updates from HELP Republicans, visit our website or Twitter at @GOPHELP.