US - The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will be required to provide Congress with new information regarding the true state of underfunded private pension plans as part of a newly reached agreement.
Democrat Representative George Miller (pictured) and Republican committee chairman John Boehner reached an agreement to formally request the PBGC, which insures private pensions, turn over information to the committee regarding companies with pension plans in the most financial trouble.
The committee rejected a bill introduced by Miller earlier this year, which would have required the PBGC to share the information on pension plans, but instead came to a compromise that resulted in a letter that will be sent to the insurer.
“This is a significant first step towards helping Congress ensure that workers expecting a secure retirement are not caught by surprise when they learn – often too late to do anything about it – that their employer’s pension plan is in trouble,” Miller said.
Under the agreement, lawmakers are not allowed to share the information received from the PBGC with anyone outside of Congress, however Miller plans to push for it to be made public.
“This information is critical to employees at companies all across America,” Miller said. “Whether you worked for Enron, or work now for a major airline or other company with significant pension problems, employees with their life savings tied to the fortunes of their employer must have access to critical information about the health of the pension plan.”
Under the compromise, the committee will get a list of more than 800 pension plans whose assets are significantly less than their liabilities. The PBGC has 10 business days to provide the information.
The decision marks the first time in a decade that the PBGC will be required to share the information with Congress.
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