By Chris Adams

The nation is facing a crisis over multiemployer pensions and the federal agency that backstops them.  Congress has been working to prevent calamity.

But so far, it hasn’t done so.

In a session with National Press Foundation fellows, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, talked about the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, which in 2018 he co-chaired with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

As of late 2018, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is facing a $54 billion shortfall in its coverage for multiemployer pensions; in all, nearly 11 million people are covered by those plans, and 1.3 million of them are in plans that are in “critical and declining” status.

The joint select committee met in 2018 to devise a solution to stabilize those plans, possibly through some mixture of increased premiums or government loans. A Nov. 30, 2018, deadline to produce a report on the issue, however, came and went. Brown’s session with fellows was a few days later, and he vowed to push on.

“We are absolutely not giving up,” he said.