Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Contractors Asked to Keep Up the Momentum to Pass the GROW Act

May 31, 2018

Composite Plans Will Benefit Retirees and the Industry

SMACNA continues to be a leading advocate on Capitol Hill urging action by Congress this year to pass the Giving Retirement Options to Workers Act (the GROW Act, H.R. 4997), endorsing composite plans as a multiemployer pension option.

In the final year of the 115th Congress, pension reform’s prospects may have to adapt to changing dynamics and omnibus legislative opportunities to pass composite plan legislation. As SMACNA’s efforts to secure Republican and Democratic sponsors for the GROW Act continue, more members are learning the merits of the composite plan option for pension security.

SMACNA asks that all members write their House representatives to sponsor the GROW Act (H.R. 4997). Members can link to sample letters with contact information for their Congressional members on SMACNA’s Take Action webpage.

Select Joint Committee continues public and private deliberations. In the meantime, the Select Joint Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans continues to deliberate and hold private discussions and negotiations. The Joint Committee’s goal is to find solutions for failing plans and to address funding issues for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The Committee has held two public hearings with public witnesses and will hold at least one more open meeting, most likely focusing on employer issues as well as on composite plans.

No experienced observer of this significant issue believes a bipartisan solution for failing pension plans will be easy to negotiate. However, if at least five Republicans and five Democrats on the Committee (out of 16 bipartisan members) agree on a loan guarantee or similar program for failing plans, composite plans would likely be included in a final package.

In addition, SMACNA remains attentive to any potential Select Committee action impacting PBGC premium levels and to the onerous plan funding restrictions being considered in a consensus proposal under review. The Committee has been tasked with producing a final report before Nov. 30 of this year.

If the Select Committee fails to produce the promised pension report, SMACNA will work to include the GROW Act language in other bills being considered during the highly probable lame-duck session of the 115th Congress following the midterm elections.

The GROW Act was also a top issue at the CEA National Issues Conference in Washington on May 8-10 where industry attendees visited Congressional offices to seek more co-sponsors for the bill.

SMACNA’s Capitol Hill efforts have been steadily escalating to keep composite plans on the radar screen of lawmakers and assure they understand how these types of plans would work to benefit retirees and the industry.

If members have questions about pension reform, composite plans, or other issues, please contact SMACNA’s Capitol Hill office (202) 547-8202.