Ohio Democrats Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Tim Ryan unveiled a bill they say will guarantee that thousands of retirees in the state receive the pensions they were originally promised.
At a news conference Monday in Youngstown, Brown and Ryan said they want Congress to create a new federal office that would allow no fewer than seven pension funds in the state to borrow enough money to remain solvent and continue providing pensions for the retirees.
The office, which would be called the Pension Rehabilitation Fund and be placed inside the U.S. Department of Treasury, would supervise the loans that would come from the sale of U.S. Treasury bonds from private investors. Brown, D-Ohio, hopes to attach the bill to a larger spending bill expected to be passed at the end of the year by Congress.
Ryan, D-Niles, said, “We in Congress must do everything in our power to protect the retirement these Americans have earned.”
Most of those impacted are Teamsters covered by the Central States Fund, a multi-employer fund that serves trucking companies and covers 400,000 retirees across the country. Central States has warned it might have to cut pensions by an average of 22 percent for retirees because it has $35 billion in liabilities and just $17.8 billion in assets.
But the bill also is aimed at propping up a number of other pension funds, including the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Iron-workers Local 17 Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan and the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan.