Butch Lewis Act in Senate

According to an email blast from the Road Carriers Local 707 Welfare and Pension Funds:

The next hurdle is in the Senate where 60 of 100 votes are needed to pass this Legislation. Currently Republicans control a majority of the votes in the Senate. The Butch Lewis legislation was recently introduced in the Senate. No hearings or votes are scheduled. The strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives shows broad based support for multiemployer pension relief. But it became clear during the debate in the House and subsequent discussions Republicans are not in support of a loan program such as the Butch Lewis Bill and a compromise in the Senate must be reached.

Some of the different scenarios and priorities of any legislation being discussed:

  • Instead of a loan program detailed in Butch Lewis for troubled plans discussions are centered around partitioning orphan and other liability enough for plans to avoid or come out of insolvency.
  • The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) would administer the partitioning and would require additional funding to provide the resources necessary. Discussions also include an increase in the PBGC minimum guarantee.
  • Any Legislation must minimize hits to retirees and employers who voluntarily joined these multiemployer plans. Any relief cannot adversely affect healthy plans and there must be changes in existing rules to allow healthy plans to stay that way.
  •  Any Legislation will not be a stand-alone bill requiring a stand-alone vote. Most probably will be attached to one of the required bills to keep the government funded prior to the end of the year.

The Republican Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is taking the lead on creating an outline of what possible Legislation may look like. It is expected within the next several weeks. This document will be circulated to stakeholders in the multiemployer pension world to provide feedback.

18 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 27, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    If this was not an election year The Butch Lewis Act would be DOA ages ago. But it is an election year and I can see this possibly passing the Senate, but it is still a LONG shot. Trump, same thing,it’s an election year so he could sign it. I would hope they do NOT pass it in its current form where these dead broke 15% funded multi-employer plans, some that are not even 15% funded, but instead pass it with major haircuts. But I do feel for many of these blue collar workers.


    • Posted by NJ2AZ on September 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      All we need is 20 states that don’t consider this an issue within their borders.

      its not getting any coverage out here in AZ, don’t see McSally or Sinema voting aye.


      • Posted by stanley on September 28, 2019 at 12:02 am

        Sinema is a lefty. McSally is originally from RI. She’ll probably vote about like McCain and Flake. I would count on her for very little.

        As long as there is plenty of money and financial markets are quiet, it will be hard for the middle of the roaders to vote against it. I’m speculating that they are going to restore benefits to those MEP people who already took a whacking.

        Warren wants to give all Social Security recipients a $200 per month raise. This is going to be better than football.


        • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 28, 2019 at 2:21 am

          Warren wants to give all Social Security recipients a $200 per month raise. This is going to be better than football.
          OK, I had a bad experience with Warren back in 2006 when she was at Harvard Law School, nothing serous but it told me she was all talk, no walk with her “I’m for the little guy” speeches she gives in front of the microphones. Left a very bad taste in my mouth. BUT, unlike every other Dem candidate running, she does have a plan, many plans, and she is going to back her spending up with major tax hikes on the upper incomes. I give her credit for her vision. Still don’t like her and never will.


        • Posted by NJ2AZ on September 28, 2019 at 4:44 pm

          The AZ DNC has already talked about censuring Sinema because she’s not voting like a lefty nutbag.

          I’d put my money on hey voting nay if it came to it.


  2. Posted by Tough Love on September 27, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Looks like the MOOCHERS aren’t satisfied, and are angling for even MORE …….. on the Taxpayers’ dime …… ad always easy to find a self-interested Congressman to do their bidding (no matter how unfair to Taxpayers).



    • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 28, 2019 at 10:34 am

      OMD, did you read THIS reply, for some loser”””
      “Posted by mikebuzzSep 27, 2019 at 2:39 PM

      Great start! However, does this include VOLUNTEER First Responders? What’s wrong with offering First Responders the same or similar federal medical benefits that Military receives? And D.C. needs to do more with the benefits such as offering First Responders educational benefits (similar to the G.I. bill), housing benefits, employment, employment preferences by law, and many other federal benefits offered to military but not first responders.”
      Talk about “Entitlement Mentality”,this is Entitlement Mentality on steroids!


      • To be fair, many areas here in NJ are struggling to attract and retain volunteer EMS. Not so much yet witb the volunteer FD. It might be cheaper to do that than pay for a paid squad. Just saying…..it is different today with two income households, it is tougher to retain these folks. People don’t want to volunteer to get called out in the middle of the night three days a week to a assisted living facility to transport someone. Call volumes are up a lot witb those places. Without the volunteers we would need to pay for a full time squad. As for paid first responders, I agree this is not needed. Perhaps the push is there because many towns don’t offer medical after retirement anymore? I don’t know. I am fine with waiting until 65 for Medicare. Yes, I might feel differently if we didn’t have med after, anyone would I guess.
        But some of these towns are constantly almost begging for EMs volunteers.


        • As far as the other stuff the guy was saying? All nonsense. That is the moocher mentality you speak of. I do not align myself with witb his views. The only think I might think is fair is a urban area giving a cop an incentive to actually LIVE in the shithole that they protect. Lower interest rate or something. Wouldn’t matter to me. No way would I be interested in living in one of Paterson etc.


      • By the way…..you both had a typo in your last post. Lol. I never point it out because it is stupid to do so. I request you kindly refrain from calling me a GED warrior because of a misspelling due to my iPhone, which I know damn well was the case for you as well. I will also refrain. To insult one over a typo is petty Other stuff is fine, insult away.


        • Posted by Rex the Wonder Dog! on September 28, 2019 at 2:17 pm

          By the way…..you both had a typo in your last post. Lol. I never point it out because it is stupid to do so. I request you kindly refrain from calling me a GED warrior because of a misspelling due to my iPhone
          I caught that too! And I am a pretty smart K-9…. BTW, I never said you in particular were a GED warrior, I just said cop and FF are GED jobs.🐶🐶🐶🦴🦴🦴


  3. Posted by geo8rge on September 28, 2019 at 8:56 am

    “partitioning orphan and other liability enough for plans to avoid or come out of insolvency.”

    What is ‘partitioning’ and ‘orphans’? It seems that the Joint Select Committee (JSC) for Multiemployer whatever it is had an alternative plan that was not the one known as Butch Lewis.

    Joint Select Committee Multiemployer’s Pension Draft Proposal Would Do More Harm than Good – 11/2018

    Provides up to $3 billion per year in transfers from taxpayers to the PBGC.
    (Is $3B per year going to cut it?)
    Creates partitions to remove some liabilities from the least-funded plans.
    Doubles the PBGC’s maximum guarantee.
    Requires plan termination within five years of insolvency.
    Imposes new fees to help fund PBGC’s higher costs.
    Repeals previous pension plan benefit reductions.


    “The obligations assumed by other employers for paying benefit obligations of their erstwhile business competitors are often referred to as “orphan liabilities,” whereas the affected workers are known as “orphan participants” or “orphan workers.” ”

    Click to access blahous-multiemployer-pension-crisis-mercatus-research-v1.pdf

    I see no mention of health benefits.

    In show business related Butch Lewis Act news, NetFlix has released a new ‘official’ trailer for Teamster’s union Al Pacino mafia De Niro corruption Scorsese hitman movie, The Irishman, just in time to influence the debate on Butch Lewis. Coincidence?


  4. Posted by Larry DiMarino on December 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    I would hope republicans would help us out I’m a Republican n need my pension to be saved put politics aside n help us please u guys waste more money then we are asking for god bless America


  5. Posted by Paul Bentivegna on February 13, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I am a retired IBEW member living in Florida. I am in opposition of the Grassley-Alexander Bill. It would hurt my solvent pension from my local union and also could possibly bankrupt My NEBF Pension. I’m already paying taxes on my pension! But this plan could devastate me financially! It’s hard enough living on a fixed pension. Please leave the good pensions alone!
    I am in favor of The Butch Lewis act already passed in the house. It’s a solution to the problem for the pension plans that are in trouble without touching the pensions that are in good shape!
    In summary, The Greesley-Alexander plan would hurt a lot of good pensions. The Butch Lewis Bill would help the pensions that need help without hurting those good pensions. Sounds like common sense!
    Thank You,
    Paul V Bentivegna


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