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Democrats and Republicans Spar Over the PBGC’s Special Financial Assistance Program

Yesterday, during a House Education and Labor Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining Pathways to Build a Stronger, More Inclusive Retirement System” Democratic and Republican lawmakers clashed over the special financial assistance program included in the American Rescue Plan Act. As you may recall, the special financial assistance program was created to allow the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to provide financial assistance to financially troubled multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.

During the hearing, Democrats on the Subcommittee hailed passage of the special financial assistance program, saying that the cost of “doing nothing” would have been greater than the cost of the program itself. Democrats added that had Congress let these plans fail, the economic effects would have reverberated throughout communities in the Midwest. Republicans, on the other hand, criticized the program as a “bailout” to “unions and other special interests” and criticized Democrats for including the funds in legislation to address COVID-19 without also making any reforms to address the underlying causes of the crisis in the first place.

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