Composite Plans Are Still in Play – Speak Up Now!
Much of SMACNA’s lobbying efforts since the National Issues Conference have been to follow-up on SMACNA member Hill visits, where members pressed for congressional action on Composite Plan legislation, H.R. 4997, the GROW Act–Giving Retirement Options to Workers.
It remains a hot issue because of the work of the Joint Select Committee which is tasked with finding solutions for failing plans and addressing funding issues for the PBGC by the end of November. The November timeline allows for the plan to be considered in the lame-duck session of Congress.
Reps. Phil Roe (R-1st-Tenn.) and Don Norcross (D-1st-N.J.), the two original sponsors of the GROW Act, both serve on the Select Committee, and both are committed to including SMACNA-supported composite plans as part of a comprehensive solution.
On June 13, the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans held its third public hearing, “Considering Employer Perspectives on Multiemployer Pension Plans”, so business representatives could explain their perspectives on issues with the defined benefit pension system and enable the committee to better understand the harsh realities facing employers.
Witnesses included UPS, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a food retailer representative, and an owner of a steel manufacturing company that contributes to a boilermakers’ plan.
Two more hearings are scheduled for Washington, D.C. and there will be one field hearing in Ohio. Joint Select Committee staff have been meeting regularly, laying the groundwork for future discussions and potential solutions. SMACNA continues to work alongside them to ensure – if the Select Committee does find common ground on pension solvency issues – composite plans will be included in any final bill.
The committee is required to come up with its report to the full Congress by November 30, after the midterm elections. The committee is comprised of eight Senate and House Republicans and eight Senate and House Democrats. If 10 members of the Select Committee (five Republican and five Democrat) agree to proposed solutions, a bill will be sent to the floor of the Senate and the House for a final up or down vote, with no amendments allowed.
SMACNA members should continue to help move the process forward. Repeated contact is highly effective. If it’s the first time or tenth time, please take the time to contact your Senators and Representatives about the importance of Composite Plans to the industry and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Reaching your Congressional delegation is easy, just link to Take Action and enter your zip code. As a reminder, here also are links to:
Composite Plan CEA conference issue sheet
SMACNA letter in support of H.R. 4997, the GROW Act
National Building Trades Union letter in support of GROW Act
National Building Trades Union Press Release on GROW Act
GROW Fact Sheet
GROW Act Section by Section
GROW Act Legislative Text
If you have any questions on this important issue, please feel free to contact SMACNA’s Capitol Hill office at (202) 547-8202.