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Lawmakers tie hybrid plans to multiemployer pension system reform

Source: Office of U.S. Representative Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.-1)

Representatives Phil Roe, M.D. and Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) present their Give Retirement Options to Workers (GROW) Act as a bipartisan effort designed to modernize, strengthen and safeguard the multiemployer pension plan system for the future.

Central to the bill they are cosponsoring is a new type of retirement option combining key defined benefit and defined contribution plan features: Workers will still receive lifetime income, while benefits they have earned under a traditional multiemployer plan are protected even after funds are shifted into a "composite" plan. The GROW Act would eliminate the uncertainty and volatility employers currently face in the multiemployer pension system; limit their risk; and, authorize them to negotiate a fixed contribution rate.

Ultimately, the lawmakers contend, the GROW Act enables trustees to maintain pension plan solvency; offers a fiscally responsible way forward; and, should be an integral part of larger multiemployer pension system reforms. "For decades, families have relied on multiemployer pension plans for retirement, but the multiemployer pension system as currently structured is irreparably broken," says Congressman Roe. "The structure makes it more difficult for employees and employers to modernize their systems to provide the retirement security necessary for hardworking Americans.

"This important, bipartisan proposal is widely supported by retirement security advocates and will provide a new vehicle for retirement savings. This plan will create a 'best of both worlds' scenario for employers and employees, and I look forward to working to ensure composite plans are a key reform adopted to ensure the multiemployer pension system is around for future retirees."

"Millions of workers deserve a safe, secure retirement and, at the same time, employers deserve predictability and flexibility without excess liability. By focusing on the partnership between employees and employers, our bipartisan solution combines key features of defined benefit and defined contribution plans and is a win-win-win for employees, employers and our economy as a whole," adds Representative Norcross, an electrician by trade and 37-year multiemployer pension plan participant. "The GROW Act offers another tool in the toolbox for workers to grow their retirement savings and employers to grow their businesses."

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