Congressman Rick Nolan

Representing the 8th District of Minnesota
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Nolan Calls on Congressional Leadership to Find Immediate Fix to Pension Crisis In End-of-Year Budget Meeting with President Trump

Dec 6, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON D.C.] Rep Rick Nolan today called on Congressional leadership to find an immediate fix to the pension crisis as part of the end-of-year budget negotiations with President Trump. In his letter, Rep. Nolan pressed for solutions such as the President establishing a Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Treasury Department that would help retirees received their full hard-earned pension benefits.

 

“The bottom line is, we must not gut the pensions of the hardworking people in this country who contributed to – and earned – every penny of their pensions,” Nolan wrote. “I urge you to discuss pragmatic, fair-minded solutions to fix the pension crisis that do not force retirees to bear the burden of the pension deficit.”

 

Rep. Nolan’s letter urges Congressional leadership to make the right decision to prioritize the retirees’ pension funds, and not repeat the mistake made in past budget negotiations of gutting retirees’ earned pension benefits. In 2014, the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014, an 11th-hour, last-ditch provision to the omnibus spending bill, gave the Treasury Department the ability to gut promised pension benefits for retirees. Rep. Nolan voted against this legislation in 2014 and urged Congressional leadership to find a new solution that protects retirees and their hard-earned pensions.

 

In addition to calling for a fix to the pension crisis, Rep. Nolan’s letter also called for strong investments in domestic human development, public health, and infrastructure in the upcoming budget.

 

The full letter is copied below.

 

 

 

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi:

 

I urge you to press for an immediate fix to America’s pension crisis in your planned bipartisan, bicameral FY2018 budget meeting with President Trump tomorrow. This issue is a key priority both to my constituents in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District and to hardworking Americans across the country.

 

There are a number of proposals on the table that would help prevent the insolvency of a number of troubled pension plans and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation itself. One such plan myself and others have offered would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration within the Treasury Department to ensure no pensioners get their benefits cut.

 

It is imperative that the severity of the pensions crisis and potential solutions to it are discussed at the Thursday meeting with the President. The bottom line is, we must not gut the pensions of the hardworking people in this country who contributed to – and earned – every penny of their pensions. This message must be conveyed to the President to safeguard against any last-minute legislative efforts to make drastic cuts to pension funds. 

 

Unfortunately, there is a precedent for budget negotiations that take the wrong approach. The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 – which I voted against – was a last-ditch, 11th hour provision to the omnibus spending bill gave the Treasury Department the ability to gut promised pension benefits for retirees. This outcome must not be repeated. On Thursday, I urge you to discuss pragmatic, fair-minded solutions to fix the pension crisis that do not force retirees to bear the burden of the pension deficit.

 

In addition to pension solutions, American citizens also deserve a deal that ensures strong investment in domestic human development, public health, and infrastructure. Specifically, these additional budget priorities include robust funding for our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and water treatment facilities; protection for the healthcare services offered by Planned Parenthood, CHIP, and our Community Health Centers; the safeguarding of our precious air and water; and the sustained investment in our youth, arts and humanities. A solution for DREAMers is also imperative.

 

I respectfully urge you to take these views into your negotiations with the President and raise the pension issue directly with him. Americans are entitled to the pensions they’ve earned over a lifetime of hard work – and Congress must do its part to keep this promise to them. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,