Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) spoke from the floor of the House of Representatives to advocate for passage of H.R.4444, commonly known as the Butch Lewis Act. In his remarks, Congressman Higgins iterated that 1.3 million Americans participate in 114 multiemployer pension plans that are being underfunded and in danger of becoming insolvent. For decades multiemployer pension plans, which are composed by labor unions across different industries, fulfilled the promise that with years of hard work, Americans could count on a secure retirement.
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Higgins said from the floor “The Butch Lewis Act is an important step in responsibly securing the pensions of millions of American workers that they have earned throughout their years of hard work”. Many workers have spent years paying into their pension programs with the promise that after an honest career they would have the ability to transition into retirement.”
Presently, around 200 multiemployer plans face the potential of failing, many of those in just the next ten years.
The Butch Lewis Act, of which Congressman Higgins is an original cosponsor, would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA) within the Department of the Treasury. The Administration would be able to make loans to certain pension programs in financial trouble, helping them continue making payments to retirees now and ensuring that Americans who have earned their retirement see no cuts to their pensions. By issuing Treasury Bonds, the PRA would simultaneously shore up current payments as well as strengthening the future of our pension programs.