Sanders promises to block cuts to pension benefits if elected

Sanders promises to block cuts to pension benefits if elected
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE (I-Vt.) vowed on Wednesday to place a moratorium on cuts to pension benefits overseen by the federal government if he is elected president in 2020.

Speaking at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers legislative conference in Washington, Sanders decried the passage of a 2014 law empowering the Treasury Department to approve cuts to multiemployer pension plans that are at risk of running out of money before all benefits are paid out.

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“This should not be happening in the United States of America. A promise made must be a promise kept,” Sanders said to applause. “If I’m elected president, my administration will impose an immediate moratorium on any future pension cuts to multiemployer pension plans.”

That plan, Sanders said, involves appointing a Treasury secretary who will agree not to approve cuts to such pension plans.

He also pledged to “reverse the pension cuts the Trump administration has already approved” and push legislation that would permanently ban such deep cuts.

Pension plans covering more than half a million people have applied with the Treasury Department to slash plan benefits under the 2014 law, according to data compiled by the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates for retirement benefits.

To date, the Treasury Department has approved 13 plan restructurings, according to the advocacy group.

Sanders’s pledge to block approval of further pension cuts largely aligns with his labor-forward campaign message, and comes as nearly two dozen presidential candidates vie for critical support from trade unions.

In addition to Sanders, six other presidential contenders addressed Machinists union members at the group’s conference this week.