US - President George Bush is today expected to sign the pensions bill that would overhaul the nation's pension system and is said to better protect pension plans going forward.
The bill will close loopholes that allowed underfunded plans to skip pension payments as well and will mean tougher funding requirements to ensure employers adequately and consistently fund their pension plans.
It will also enhance disclosure to give workers and retirees more information about the status of their pension plans and protecting multiemployer pension plans for workers and their employers.
But one of the most significant points from a taxpayer perspective is that the bill was designed to protect citizens from being burdened with potentially multibillion-dollar debt should the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp (PBGC) go bankrupt.
Although Bush is expected to sign the bill today, opinions are still divided on the issue. PBGC board chairman Elaine Chao said the bill would strengthen funding, improve transparency and reinforce the pension insurance system, and added:
I encourage American employers to fully fund their workers' pension programmes as soon as possible, using the flexibility provided in this legislation to contribute additional funding during good economic times, said Chao.
But George Miller, senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee claimed the bill would require companies to contribute almost $30bn less to their workers’ pension plans in the next five years than they would have to under current law.
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