Brown leads creation of pension-crisis committee

Brown leads creation of pension-crisis committee
© Greg Nash

House and Senate lawmakers will form a committee aiming to solve, by year's end, the looming pension crisis facing about 1.5 million Americans.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown says he's 'not actively considering' running for president Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE of Ohio on Wednesday announced the creation of a bipartisan House and Senate joint select committee tasked with providing a legislative solution that will produce a bill for votes in the House and Senate during the last week of November.

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“Washington bailed out Wall Street and Wall Street turned around and stole the pensions Ohioans worked for," Brown said.

"Now Congress has [the] responsibility to protect the pensions workers earned before it is too late,” he said.

“While it is not the immediate solution we hoped for, this committee will force Congress to finally treat the pension crisis with the seriousness and urgency American workers deserve.”

Brown secured the creation of the committee as part of the congressional budget compromise reached on Wednesday afternoon.

The new panel will be required to hold at least five public meetings, including at least one field hearing outside of Washington, D.C.

Several Ohio pension plans, including the Central States Teamsters Pension Plan and the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, will fail if nothing is done to save them, Brown said.

If the plans fail, taxpayers would be on the hook for billions of dollars because the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) doesn't have the ability to pay the benefits.

Overall, the new committee will comprise 12 members — six senators and six House members equally divided between Republicans and Democrats — who will be appointed by House and Senate leaders. 

If at least four members from each party agree on a compromise, the solution produced by the committee will be guaranteed an expedited vote in the House and Senate with no amendments.