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

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Politics / Policy - By Sophia Pear­son

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

1.

2.

3. Amends the Help Amer­ica Vote Act

of 2002, which au­tho­rized al­most $3.9 bil­lion to im­prove

vot­ing tech­nol­ogy

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

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