(WASHINGTON) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to pass H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, more commonly referred to as The Butch Lewis Act. The legislation is an essential step to help secure the retirement security of more than 1.5 million workers and retirees nationwide.
The measure, offered by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), was first introduced in Congress in November 2017. The measure has 209 co-sponsors, including nine Republicans. As in 2017, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) again joined with Rep. Neal in introducing the bill in the 116th Congress. The House approved the measure in a 264-to-169 vote with 29 Republicans voting in support of the legislation.
“After years of tireless work by Teamster retirees, members and local union officers, the House today rewarded their efforts by passing this critically important legislation,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Lawmakers cannot delay any longer – this legislation must now be approved by the Senate so that American workers retain their hard-earned retirement security.”
There are more than 300 multiemployer pension plans across the country — including the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund — that are in danger of failing. The Teamsters have been fighting for years for a legislative solution and have worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to do so.
The measure would boost financially troubled multiemployer pensions plans so they don’t fail. It would create a new agency under the U.S. Treasury Department that would sell bonds in the open market to large investors such as financial firms. Those proceeds would then be used to bolster faltering pension plans as part of a 30-year loan program.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.