By Chris Adams
As the U.S. House of Representatives changed hands from 2018 to 2019, Aliya Robinson’s work has ramped up.
In a session with National Press Foundation fellows, Aliya Robinson, executive director for retirement policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, detailed the current legislative battles at play on Capitol Hill, with an emphasis on what will change as Democrats take over from Republican in the House. (The Senate is staying under Republican control.)
Up first is a potential resolution for the problems with multiemployer plans that are on a path to insolvency. Those plans are backed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, but that agency doesn’t have the funds to step in and take care of those pensioners at anywhere near their promised levels.
Throughout 2018, a special committee in Congress explored the issue and developed ideas on how to patch the huge gap between available funds and projected pension payments. Among the options are loans from the government to those failing plans, premium increases or changes to promised benefits.
The committee met throughout 2018 and was supposed to deliver a report by Nov. 30, 2018. That didn’t happen.
“Where are we now?” Robinson asked. “That’s a great question. … I would say that while we are in a crisis, it’s not a congressional crisis yet.”
Robinson detailed other issues coming up in Congress, including potential changes to small employer pension plans (there is actually a difference between “multiemployer plans” and “multiple employer” plans) and changes to retirement and savings provisions.
Finally, she detailed who is likely to take over relevant committees in 2019, as well as those lawmakers’ legislative agendas on pension and retirement issues.