A Bill So Long, Party Line Voting In nine states, people can vote for all the candidates of one party by ticking a single box on their ballots, rather than having to mark their choices in each race. On March 3, Representative Charlie Dent, a Republican fr
be devastating,” says Allsen, 66, who spent 32 years as a trucker.
Central States was formed in 1955 to hold retirement contributions for Teamsters working for transport companies. After the industry was deregulated in 1980, almost all of the fund’s 50 largest participating companies closed down or went bankrupt. Today there are more than 1,400 companies paying into the fund.
Under the proposed cuts, many of Central States’ pensions wouldn’t be touched, but one-sixth could be reduced by 50 percent or more. The changes are allowed under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. Central States says that without them, it’s projected to be insolvent by 2026. Already, it pays out $3.46 for every $1 it takes in. “You have to balance that against retirees who have settled expectations, rightfully so, who are getting the rug pulled out from underneath them,” says Tom Nyhan, the fund’s executive director.
Whether that happens is up to Kenneth Feinberg, Treasury’s special master for the pension reform program. He previously oversaw payouts for victims of the September 11 attacks. In recent months he’s attended town halls in eight states with Central States beneficiaries. “You cannot help but be affected by retiree after retiree,” says Feinberg. “On the other hand, there is a law that was passed, and we have to enforce the law.”
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters says it would prefer to see the law replaced with a Senate bill proposed by Bernie Sanders that would allow multiemployer pensions to hand over retirees whose companies have gone bankrupt to the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Former California Democratic Representative George Miller, who co-sponsored the 2014 pension reform, says that’s a nonstarter: “I don’t see anything in the configuration of the Congress now, or in the near future, that’s going to put up the billions of dollars to do that.” �Caleb Melby and Anders Melin
H.R. 4679 People Before Party Act of 2016
3. Amends the Help America Vote Act
of 2002, which authorized almost $3.9 billion to improve
Section 2 Elimination of Straight Party Voting in Federal Elections p. 1-2 The bottom line A 2014 law allows multiemployer pension plans to apply for government-approved benefit cuts to forestall bankruptcy.
Edited by Allison Hoffman Bloomberg.com