The Senate late today unanimously approved legislation to ease funding requirements of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and allow pension plans to smooth the value of pension assets over 24 months.
The bill was unanimously approved by the House late Wednesday. The bill now goes to President George Bush for his signature.
Pension industry officials want more extensive relief from the PPA funding requirements, which had started to phase in its full funding requirements this year, but said they wanted quick action on the bill.
The ERISA Industry Committee applauded the legislation "as an important first step to preventing a crisis next year as plan sponsors face potentially billions of dollars in funding requirements and plan participants face benefit limitations as a result of the extraordinary economic downturn, Mark Ugoretz, ERIC president, said in a statement.
As the global economy slowly recovers, additional relief will likely still be needed to limit the effect of market turmoil on American companies, added James Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, Washington, in a separate statement.