With new ally, union bailout bill could gain traction

Matt Cover
CNSNews.com
8/18/2010

(CNSNews.com) – The addition of a powerful Senate ally may be what supporters of a new union bailout bill need to get legislation passed that would put the responsibility for funding union pension plans on the shoulders of American taxpayers.

That new ally is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate’s number two Democrat and longtime union ally. The bill, the Create Job and Save Benefits Act of 2010,  is the plan of Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and had languished in committee since March 23.

With the addition of Durbin – who lent his support shortly before the Senate went on summer break – the bill could see new life, especially since Senate Democrats failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, known as Card Check, a top priority of their union allies.

The bill would allow the federally chartered Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) to use taxpayer money to bailout so-called “orphan” benefits plans.

Currently, the PBGC acts as an insurance fund for retirement pensions, charging a fee to extend coverage to private pension plans, should those plans fail. In the event that a pension fund cannot pay the benefits it promised, the PBGC can step in and use the fees it collects to pay benefits. The PBGC is not allowed to tap into taxpayers’ money to bail out pension plans.

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