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Legislation

Sen. Sherrod Brown to unveil multiemployer loan program legislation

Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, plans to introduce legislation that would allow struggling multiemployer pension funds to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to remain solvent.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, could be introduced later this week or shortly after. It would create a new office within the Treasury Department called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration. The funds would come from the sale of Treasury-issued bonds to financial institutions. The pension funds could borrow for 30 years at low interest rates. One restriction for borrowers is they could not make risky investments.

The bill would also fund a program at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to finance any remaining needs of pension plans borrowing from the new program. "Any money needed for the PBGC would be a tiny fraction of what it would otherwise be on the hook for if Congress fails to act," said an analysis by Mr. Brown's office.

Mr. Brown told a group of retired Teamsters in Ohio on Monday that the bill will be out shortly. "It's bad enough that Wall Street squandered workers' money — and it's worse that the government that's supposed to look out for these folks is trying to break the promise made to these workers. Not on our watch. We won't allow that to happen," he said.