What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Pension Protections : A vote on a Democratic motion offered in protest over their inability to shape a Republican-drafted pension bill (HR 3108) and to send the measure back to its committee of origin for reconsideration. (2004 house Roll Call 116)
 Who: All Members
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A vote on a Democratic motion offered in protest over their inability to shape a Republican-drafted pension bill (HR 3108) and to send the measure back to its committee of origin for reconsideration.
house Roll Call 116     Apr 02, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Progressives in the House were unsuccessful in sending a pension conference report (HR 3108) -- ostensibly designed to help troubled worker pension plans stay afloat in the short-term while Congress prepares comprehensive solutions to reform and strengthen the defined benefit system -- back to its committee of origin for reconsideration. The measure includes a key interest rate fix to replace the 30-year Treasury rate with what conservatives said was a more accurate benchmark for employers to measure their pension funding promises to workers. Progressives' effort to make the bill more favorable to multiemployer plans via their motion to recommit the bill to its drafting panel was turned back by a vote of 195-217. Conservatives argued that economists have warned that if Congress fails to enact a 30-year replacement bill before mid-April, it could deal an unnecessary blow to an economy that is showing clear signs of picking up steam. They said the bill's new calculation is considered a better estimate of how much money pensions need to pay future retirement benefits. The firms would save an estimated $80 billion over two years. However, progressives criticized the bill for not doing more to save multiemployer plans, a smaller group of funds run jointly by unions and management, from being forced to make massive and crippling payments, and sought to recommit the bill to committee. Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., said the bill helps large corporations while punishing smaller businesses with union affiliations. "We won't throw the life preservers for union plans and union workers," he said. "That is wrong." conservatives, however, countered that most multiemployer plans will not face serious pension problems until five or six years from now and do not need immediate help.

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