Congress deal set for pension funding relief, PBGC premiums

House and Senate negotiators reached a deal late Wednesday to approve a $16.8 billion highway funding bill that would be paid for with new tax revenue from higher PBGC premiums and fewer tax deductions for employers sponsoring defined benefit plans through more lenient pension contribution calculation rules.

The pension funding stabilization piece of the agreement would bring an estimated $9.4 billion over 10 years into federal coffers, while the PBGC premium increases for single-employer plans would add nearly $9 billion.

PBGC premiums would increase to $42 per plan participant in 2013 and $49 in 2014, from the current $35, and then indexed for inflation.

The tentative agreement, which will also extend a college loan subsidy program to be financed by those two new revenue sources, has to be voted on by the full House and Senate, mindful of a June 30 deadline for the highway trust fund.