Mark Pocan
Press Release

Pocan, Renacci Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Eliminate Budget Gimmick

The Pension and Budget Integrity Act simply moves these premiums “off-budget”, and ensures that Congress is raising premiums only if and when it is appropriate.

By - Apr 15th, 2016 10:13 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Jim Renacci (OH-16) and Mark Pocan (WI-02) were joined by Reps. Daniel Webster (FL-10), John Carney (DE at-large), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), and Richard Hanna (NY-22) to introduce bipartisan legislation to eliminate a Washington-created budget gimmick and protect employees and their employers.

Under current law, pension insurance premiums that are paid by employers to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) are included in the federal budget and are considered “on-budget.”  This provides the illusion this revenue can be used for general government spending, even though these premiums cannot be allocated to other government programs besides the PBGC benefit pension plans.  In recent years, Congress has increased the PBGC premiums several times in order to off-set increased spending; most recently increasing premiums through 2025 by $7.65 billion in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

The Pension and Budget Integrity Act simply moves these premiums “off-budget”, and ensures that Congress is raising premiums only if and when it is appropriate.

“For too long Congress has raised pension premiums as a gimmick to balance the budget on the backs of working class Americans,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “This legislation will ensure that when Congress chooses to increase these premiums, it does so for the benefit of the PBGC and pension beneficiaries.”

“We need to improve our country’s fiscal health by balancing the federal budget, and it cannot be done with accounting gimmicks.  In this case, the pension premiums are being raised in order to pay for our federal programs, but in reality that revenue will only be allotted to PBGC plans.  Budget gimmicks only result in contributing to our nation’s growing debt.  Our commonsense, bipartisan bill promotes sound budgetary policy and helps protect the PBGC from losing vital premium contributors,” Rep. Jim Renacci said.

“Far too often, the federal budgeting process includes technical maneuvering for the purpose of swaying perception or public opinion. Over the past few years, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has fallen victim to this distorted practice. I applaud Rep. Renacci for his bipartisan legislation to eliminate this budget gimmick and join his efforts to make the federal government more transparent and accountable in their spending,” Rep. Daniel Webster said.

“The Pension and Budget Integrity Act protects the retirement income of hard-working Americans from congressional budgeting tricks. Over the years, Congress has used this stunt instead of working on bipartisan solutions that would honestly deal with our spending. This bill is a step in the right direction towards a more responsible way of spending,” Rep. John Carney said.

“American workers deserve to know that their retirement earnings will continue to be safe,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer. “For too long pension premiums paid by employers have been at risk from Congressional budget stunts. Our bipartisan bill ensures that Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation funds are not subjected to the Congressional budget making process so workers can have peace of mind and we can focus on actually balancing our budget.”

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