Still no action planned in Senate for House-passed Pension Security Act.

Fifth and final in a series

WASHINGTON – On April 23, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce made a plea in the form of a letter to Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to bring its recently-passed pension reform legislation to the Senate floor without any further stalling.

"The President has called on Congress to act decisively to restore worker confidence in the nation\’s pension system," said committee chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio). "The bipartisan Pension Security Act passed by the House gives workers meaningful new protections that could\’ve made a real difference for the victims at Enron. We urge Senate Daschle to move quickly to bring pension reform legislation to the Senate floor before Memorial Day to help workers preserve their hard-earned retirement savings."

The Pension reform act that passed the House on April 11, in a bipartisan vote of 255-163, includes new safeguards and options to help workers preserve and enhance their retirement security, and insists on greater accountability from senior company insiders. And the longer Daschle keeps this bill from a Senate vote, the more people will be at risk of similar occurrences to the Enron scandal.

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) once argued, "[T]he proposals by the Administration to reform our pension system simply creates false hope. The President\’s plan would not have prevented the Enron workers from losing their retirement savings."

Yet, only months later the Democratic Senator created a bill that parallels that of the Presidents in numerous ways, such as rejection of arbitrary caps on Company Stock in 401(k)s, and a proposal to lower vesting requirements for employer matching contributions. Similarities also include mutual support of the president\’s three-year diversification period, and a call for 30-day advance notice before blackouts, among other things.

"This pension legislation is clearly not a partisan issue. At this point, Tom Daschle is once again trying to block efforts by a popular president to help America," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "But even Senate Democrats who once questioned the bill have come to realize its importance and urgency. The future of hard working Americans should have nothing to do with the politics of Washington, and Daschle has yet to accept this."

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