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Tiberi Opening Statement: Hearing on Private Employer Defined Benefit Pension Plans

September 17, 2014

Today we examine the challenges facing employers, employees, and retirees who rely on both single and multi-employer defined benefit pension plans to help provide retirement security. These challenges pose serious threats to American workers and employers.

I know what it means for a family to lose the pension they were relying on.  When I was in high school, my dad lost his job, he lost his pension, and we lost our health care.  It was a volatile time.  I want to help families avoid that situation.

First, I have heard from a number of companies with concerns that Treasury rules relating to nondiscrimination testing for single employer defined benefit plans may cause plans to freeze and participants to lose their benefits.

In response to this issue, Ranking Member Neal and I have introduced legislation to offer nondiscrimination testing relief to closed pension plans.  It would prevent companies from having to freeze their plans and would prevent thousands of participants from losing their benefits.

There are a number of other issues currently affecting private defined benefit pensions, and it is my hope that this hearing will give us the opportunity to gain different perspectives on these issues.

The funding challenges facing multi-employer plans are threatening both retirement security for American workers and the solvency of employers whose ability to invest and create jobs is being hampered by pension obligations.

I have said for years, the cost of doing nothing is too high a price to pay.  I applaud Chairman Kline and the Education & Workforce Committee on their work on this issue as well, and I look forward to gaining as much information as possible so that we can determine an appropriate path forward to deal with these issues.