Hill Reformers Take Up Pension Issues Employee Benefit News (06/03) Vol. 17, No. 8 p.1; Lee, Karen
Just two years after Congress raised the contribution cap for 401(k) plans and IRAs and eased the rules for creating defined-benefit and defined-contribution retirement plans, lawmakers have returned to the bargaining table to negotiate new terms for pension issues. Reps. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) are preparing to tweak the "Pension Preservation and Savings Expansion Act," to which they will attempt to add provisions that will replace the 30-year Treasury rate in defined-benefit pension calculations. Cardin and Portman hope that with a new benchmark in place, funding relief for multi-employer pension plans and the simplification of plan administration could be better facilitated. One of the most important provisions in the bill, according to pension industry groups, is the pledge to extend the reforms Congress passed two years ago, but some benefits experts believe the bill's greatest impact will be to spur sponsorship of defined-benefit plans.