Congressman Earl Pomeroy is joining business leaders, including the American Benefits Council and the National Federation of Nurses, to call for temporary pension funding relief. In a telephonic press conference call last week, Pomeroy said it was imperative for Congress to pass such legislation.
“If left unaddressed, the issue of pension funding could throw a roadblock into our economic recovery,” the North Dakota Democrat said. “Pension funding relief would provide employers more cash on hand to save and create jobs and to inject into the economy, while giving workers enhanced job security and strengthened pension plans over the long-term.”
Pomeroy co-sponsored a bill along with Rep. Patrick Tiberi of Ohio that would temporarily extend the period employers fully fund their defined benefit pension plans. The “Preserve Benefits and Jobs Act” would:
- Allow a sponsor of a single-employer defined benefit pension plan to elect in 2009 or 2010 extended amortization periods (9 or 15 years) for investment losses incurred in prior years;
- Allow an increase in the valuation range of plan assets;
- Use the funded status of a plan in 2008 to determine benefit restrictions in 2009 and 2010 and prohibit the use of credit balances by pension plans that are under 80 percent funded in the prior year;
- Exclude plan-related administrative expenses (including investment expenses) from normal cost targets;
- Delay the application of certain benefit restrictions to collectively bargained plans until 2012; and
- Require a 120 percent funding target for plans adopting ad hoc amendments that allow lump sum benefits payments and increased plan liabilities.