US - House and Senate negotiators are on the verge of announcing their delayed agreement on the hotly-debated pension reform which will see employers being given a seven-year timeframe to fully fund their pension plans.
Senate and House representatives have said they are very close to coming to a decision and will most likely do so before the congressional month-long recess beginning at the end of the week.
“There is momentum here. I think they are extremely close to resolving the outstanding issues... This bill represents a mixed bag for the pension system,” said American Benefits Council president Jim Klien.
One of the major issues said to be holding up the agreement was one brought up by Delta and Northwest airlines. The companies lobbied for a significantly longer timeframe to pay off their liabilities - an appeal which was met with opposition by other companies under financial stress.
An NWA spokesperson had said the airline was hopeful the longer timeframe could be achieved before the August deadline.
No suggestion has been made as to whether the congress decision will give the airlines the extended time they demanded, which was reportedly that of 20 years.
If the concrete pensions reform is not achieved before the recess, the airlines may be forced to dump their pensions, with billions of dollars in deficit, onto the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation.
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