Saturday, February 09, 2019
CONGRESSMAN CLEAVER FIGHTS FOR KANSAS CITY PENSIONS!!!
The American pension crisis continues as Kansas City's top ranking elected official works to sustain the benefits that local laborers have worked their entire careers to attain.
Here's the latest:
E.C. From D.C. - Retirees Can No Longer Wait
This week, I was proud to sign on to legislation that will help millions of retirees who are concerned about their hard earned pensions, the Butch Lewis Act, H.R. 397.
The Butch Lewis Act, also known as the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, would create a new office within the U.S. Treasury Department called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA). The PRA would allow pension plans to borrow the money they need to remain solvent and continue providing retirement security for retirees and workers for decades to come.
This week, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing to shine a light on the multi-employer pension crisis that has already roiled hundreds of thousands of workers across the Midwest. People who have saved all of their working lives for this moment of retirement have been told that there is not enough to fund their pensions in the coming years. Over 400,000 people who have vested millions of dollars into their retirement with the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF) have been told that the fund will become insolvent within 5-10 years if their benefits are not drastically cut, some as much as 60%. This is one of the largest multi-employer pension funds in the United States.
A brave Kansas Citian, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means this week. Cindy McDaniel, Co-director of the Missouri-Kansas City Committee to Protect Pensions, talked about ways to improve the security of working Americans’ retirement and most importantly talked about what these cuts would mean for her family and hundreds of thousands of families across the country.
For years now, workers and retirees within the CSPF have been dealing with the uncertainty of whether their hard-earned pension will be there in the years to come. I have been working diligently to help CSPF retirees and active workers, holding a town hall in 2016 in my district of Kansas City, Missouri, in which nearly a thousand people attended to hear U.S. Treasury’s Ken Feinberg speak to this issue. I also called for an investigation after hundreds of retirees and workers contacted my office regarding the stability of the CSPF. It is imperative that we find solutions to the pension crisis facing the CSPF and why I have cosponsored H.R. 397.
According to the Pension Rights Center, 150 to 200 plans are projected to run out of money within 10-20 years. A study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), requested by myself and other Members of Congress, released last summer revealed this is due to several factors, including changes in the economy that have resulted in many plans having more retirees than active workers, company bankruptcies and withdrawals from plans, and investment losses stemming from the 2001 and 2008 stock market downturns.
These families spent years of their lives working to put money away with the presumption that it would be there for them when they retire or can no longer work, only to have the rug pulled out from underneath them. That is unacceptable. It is past time to pass the Butch Lewis Act; these retirees cannot wait any longer.
Emanuel Cleaver, II
Member of Congress
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