Griffith Statement on H.R. 397

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | Kevin Baird (202-225-3861)

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act:

“Multiemployer pension plans that are in critical and declining status present a serious problem. This legislation to address the problem has its own flaws, leaving me between a rock and a hard place as I considered it, but ultimately I believe the better vote was yes.

“Miscalculations as well as outside circumstances such as the War on Coal have placed some multiemployer pensions on a path to insolvency.

“The process on this bill was flawed. Further, reforms to the multiemployer pension plans or the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) would have been helpful to the overall pension system, but they were not included.

“In the end, however, we have to act, because the Federal Government under existing law is already committed to supporting these multiemployer pension plans. This bill assists these multiemployer pension plans in critical and declining status. The cost of this loan program to the PBGC is estimated to be as much as $64 billion. If the Federal Government lives up to support its commitments to the PBGC, that cost could be substantially higher. Even if the Federal Government did not live up to that commitment, the estimated loss could be as high as $240 billion as a result of increased costs for government safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, housing assistance, etc., and loss of collateral revenues.

“This is the only plan out there that potentially prevents the Federal Government from picking up the full tab. Its chief beneficiaries are people who have counted on these pensions, whether a retired worker drawing on it to assist in caring for his disabled child or the widows of coal miners. My commitment is to these constituents, and voting for H.R. 397 is the best way to support them at this time.”

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