Pension plan funding relief provisions have been left out of a jobs bill approved Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee because Democrats could not agree on conditions on employers accepting the relief, Washington sources said.
A draft version of the legislation, H.R. 4849, that was released Monday, reserved a section for pension funding relief, with details to come later. However, panel Democrats could not agree on conditions accompanying the funding relief, so Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, D-Mich., decided to move the bill without the funding relief provisions, benefit lobbyists said.
Pension funding relief provisions are part of a broader bill, H.R. 4213, that the Senate passed last week. The measure would give employers more time to fund pension plan shortfalls.
But in return for that funding relief, employers would have to kick in extra contributions to their plans to equal “excess” employee compensation or extraordinary dividends. Excess compensation, for example, is defined in the legislation as compensation for an employee that exceeds $1 million a year.
The House has yet to take up that measure, which also would extend the 15-month, 65% federal COBRA premium subsidy to employees laid off through the rest of this year.
Jerry Geisel is editor-at-large at Business Insurance, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.