Democrats Support Totally Unrelated Pension Bailout In Their Spending Bill

Despite Democrats’ Loud Insistence That Their Spending Bill Will ‘Directly Address The Needs Of The American People,’ It’s Stuffed Full Of Unrelated Items Like An $86 Billion Pension Bailout With No Reforms Whatsoever


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “This bailout is not coupled with any reforms to ensure the long-term sustainability of the multiemployer pension system. So, it’s just a blank check, with no measures to hold mismanaged plans accountable. That’s why I spent much of last Congress working on a responsible proposal to rescue and reform the failing multiemployer pension system. Unless meaningful reforms are included, the precedent will be set that the taxpayer, not the PBGC, is the ultimate guarantor of private-employer pension promises.” (Sen. Grassley, Press Release, 3/06/2021)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): “[B]ecause of [President Biden] and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, here we are facing a $1.9 trillion so-called coronavirus relief bill which, when it passed the House, there was bipartisan opposition. You'd say, why would that be? Why would every Republican vote against it as well as some Democrats? And it's because it is packed with pork. It is a wish list of liberal spending. What does it do? Bails out states, bails out big cities, bails out failed union pension plans.” (Sen. Barrasso, Press Conference, 3/02/2021)


Voices From Across The Political Spectrum Agree The Pension Bailout Has Nothing To Do With COVID Relief And Has No Business Being In This Bill: ‘Frankly, No Member Of Congress Should Be Willing To Defend This’

MAYA MacGUINEAS, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Perhaps most concerning, the House Ways & Means Committee appears to have made space for the pension bailout … These multiemployer pensions have been on shaky ground for some time and ought to be dealt with transparently, where lawmakers can appropriately finance and reform these plans. The financial status of these funds shouldn’t be addressed in a piece of crisis legislation, and certainly not at the cost of benefits for unemployed workers. Frankly, no member of Congress should be willing to defend this.(“COVID Relief Bill Losing Focus as Details Emerge, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 2/17/2021)

THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL BOARD: “That means setting aside legislative items not directly related to COVID, despite lawmakers’ inevitable temptation to take advantage of a crisis to advance other priorities. Yet the bill now moving through the House shows signs of losing focus in just that way. Specifically, the House Ways and Means Committee has attached a plan to rescue financially troubled retirement systems known as multiemployer pensions affecting some 10 million people, of whom about a tenth are in the most distressed plans. Though the predicament might have worsened during the pandemic, the pension problem is a perennial with which committee chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) has long been concerned. … Nevertheless, this particular bit of sausage-making illustrates the complications that develop when lawmakers start to stray from straightforward attention to the most urgent Covid-related needs.” (Editorial, “Congress Needs To Focus Its Covid Relief Bill — On Covid Relief,” The Washington Post, 2/17/2021)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “The bill includes $86 billion to rescue 185 or so multiemployer pension plans insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Managed jointly by employer sponsors and unions, these plans are chronically underfunded due to lax federal standards and accounting rules. Yet the bailout comes with no real reform.” (Editorial, “The Non-Covid Spending Blowout,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/21/2021)


FLASHBACK: Democrats Tout ‘The Precision Of This Legislation To Directly Address The Needs Of The American People,’ And Bluster, ‘What Would They Have Me Cut?’

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “We need Congress to pass my American Rescue Plan that deals with the immediate crisis - the urgency. Now, critics say my plan is too big, that it costs $1.9 trillion. So that’s too much. Well, let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What would they have me leave out?” (President Biden, Remarks, 2/19/2021)

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “So, the need is great.  The opportunity is there.  And the precision of this legislation to directly address the needs of the American people, the lives of the American people and the livelihoods.” (Speaker Pelosi, 2/25/2021)

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “My colleagues claim this bill isn’t related to COVID. What hogwash.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 3/05/2021)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats