Arrington Denounces Taxpayer Bailout for Mismanaged Union Pensions

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in opposition to the “Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act,” which would effectively bail out billions of dollars in mismanaged, underfunded union pension plans using taxpayer dollars.

This is a bailout, this is one of the most reckless, fiscally irresponsible pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen. Yes, we need to help those workers, they were the real victims. And the culprits? The unions and the employers for making benefit promises that they knew good and well they couldn’t deliver on. Who’s now going to hold the bag? Our children and grandchildren,” said Arrington.  

“This is a disaster. This is a terrible precedent. This is moral hazard if I’ve ever seen it, because we’ll do this for $100 billion, we won’t fix the problem, we don’t do anything to get at the root cause that brought us here, and there will be a line as long the eye can see to bail out the next $100 billion, and the next $100 billion.”

“We are bankrupt, Mr. Speaker. We are bankrupt in this country, and this is the most irresponsible way to try to solve this problem of underfunded and unfunded liabilities for these workers. Hold the people who are responsible accountable, don’t just give a blank check from the taxpayers to bail this program out and be right back here doing the same thing.”

WATCH CONGRESSMAN ARRINGTON’S FULL REMARKS:

Background

  • There are roughly 1300 plans in the multiemployer pension system covering 10 million Americans.
  • 75% of participants in multiemployer pension plans are in plans that are less than 50% funded.
  • Approximately 130 multiemployer pension plans covering 1.3 million participants with $100 billion of underfunding will run out of money over the next decade.
  • The “Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act,” or “Butch Lewis Act,” would give out grants and 30-year loans, on which the recipient pays a low interest rate for 29 years before the principal is due in year 30.
  • The Act includes no structural or operational reforms to protect workers and retirees.
  • The Act provides that the loans will be forgiven if they are unable to be repaid.