Pension Security & Transparency Act today cleared the full Senate by a vote of 97-2. The bill would rewrite pension funding rules and shore up the PBGC, reducing the need for a taxpayer bailout of the federal pension insurer.
Pension reform efforts now move to the House, which must pass its own legislation before the two versions are reconciled. A House vote is expected after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"The bipartisan bill before us today will reverse this decline (in pension funding) over time by improving pension funding and bringing in additional premium revenue to the PBGC," Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a sponsor of the bill, said in a statement today.
Earlier today, senators approved a more generous break for financially strapped airlines than originally proposed. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., sponsored an amendment to the pension act that would allow airlines 20 years, instead of the current 14, to improve the funding of their pension plans.
Among other provisions, the legislation also includes a provision letting small businesses set up new "DB-k" plans that combine the best features of defined benefit and 401(k) retirement plans: PBGC-guaranteed benefits along with portability and employees being able to make pre-tax contributions.