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Ryan Praises Pension Bill Agreement to Protect Workers' Pensions

Location: Washington, DC

Ryan Praises Pension Bill Agreement to Protect Workers' Pensions
December 13, 2005

Ryan Worked With UAW/GM to Fix Pension Bill, Obtain Crucial Deal to Give Employers such as GM and Auto Sector Flexibility They Need to Fund Workers' Pension Plans

WASHINGTON - First District Congressman Paul Ryan today hailed an agreement that he helped craft between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and General Motors (GM) and the House Ways and Means and Education and the Workforce Committees. The agreement addresses Ryan's concerns about H.R. 2830, the Pension Protection Act.

Ryan has been working for months to fix several problems in this legislation, which he opposed when it came up for a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee in November, because it contained a retroactive change in pension law that would have put auto sector workers' pension benefits at risk by canceling the credit balances of employers who have been contributing more than the minimum amount necessary to meet their pension funding obligations. Today, the chairmen of the two House committees with jurisdiction over this issue announced an agreement that will address this matter and correct a problem related to plant shutdown benefits. The UAW and GM announced their support for H.R. 2830 today as well.

To follow is Paul Ryan's statement on the agreement that has been reached regarding the Pension Protection Act, which is expected to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives later this week:

"I represent tens of thousands of auto workers and retirees whose pension benefits would have been put at risk if this bill passed in its original form. Southern Wisconsin is home to thousands of good-paying auto-sector jobs that depend on the future health of GM and other auto companies. That is why I fought so hard to fix this legislation, so our employers can remain competitive and our workers can be more secure in their retirement benefits."

"I am extremely pleased that an agreement has been reached that will protect workers' pensions and allow employers to continue to fund their employee pension plans in today's economy. In addition, this agreement allows pension plans to provide plant shutdown benefits to workers who are close to retirement age in the unfortunate event of a plant shutdown."

"It is critical that we update our pension laws to make sure that the pension benefits workers have earned will be there for them when they retire and that employers have the flexibility they need to continue providing pension benefits. Today's agreement represents an accomplishment by employers and workers. I look forward to voting in favor of this legislation, when it comes before the House for a vote," Ryan said.

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