The shift in the Senate’s political balance following Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown’s election victory on Jan. 19 won’t have the same impact on pension legislation that it will on health-care reform, industry representatives say.
“Most pension issues have historically been pretty bipartisan,” said Jason Hammersla, a spokesman for the American Benefits Council. “So I don’t think the Democrats’ loss of the supermajority is going to make a big difference on retirement issues.”
Mr. Brown’s election eliminates the 60-seat Democratic majority needed to block Republican filibusters in the Senate.
Pension industry lobbyists want lawmakers to consider legislation that would provide plans with additional relief from onerous new defined benefit plan funding requirements established by the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
“From what we understand, there is broad agreement from both parties on the need for funding relief,” said Ted Godbout, a spokesman for the ERISA Industry Committee. “But what form the relief takes remains to be seen.”