Mark R. Warner

10/16/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/16/2019 13:35

Warner Cosponsors Legislation to Protect Workers' Retirement Benefits

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today joined Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) in cosponsoring legislation to address the pension crisis that is jeopardizing small businesses across the country and threatening the retirement of more than 1.1 million workers and retirees nationwide. The Butch Lewis Act would create a loan program to allow financially troubled pensions plans to borrow the funds they need to stabilize their finances and ensure they can meet their commitments to retirees and workers for decades to come.

'Right now, nearly two thousand workers and retirees in Virginia are under threat of seeing their pensions cut drastically as a result of the looming insolvency of the Central States Pension Fund - the largest troubled pension plan,' said Sen. Warner. 'Workers shouldn't have to worry about whether or not the benefits they've earned over a lifetime of hard work will be there in retirement. That's why I'm backing this legislation to lend a hand to the workers and businesses who are counting on these pension plans to succeed.'

Current projections estimate that of the more than ten million individuals who participate in multiemployer pension plans, over one million of them are currently in plans that will be unable to pay the full benefits they have promised. Among these plans is the Central States Pension Plan, one of the largest multiemployer pension plans in the country, which is projected to be insolvent by 2025, affecting nearly 370,000 individuals, including nearly 1,980 people in Virginia.

By providing low-interest 30-year loans, the Butch Lewis Act would put distressed multiemployer plans back on solid footing, thereby protecting small businesses from the threat of closing their doors if plans are allowed to fail. The bill would also would put safeguards in place to encourage pensions to remain strong so they can be there for workers when they retire.