House Democrats lack a sense of urgency and that's why funding relief for defined benefit plan sponsors has gone nowhere, according to Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio.
“I'm becoming really agitated with this attitude,” Mr. Tiberi said in a teleconference sponsored by the American Benefits Council. “There just doesn't see to be a real game plan to vote this in the House.”
Among the specific charges that Mr. Tiberi leveled during the teleconference were that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin, D-Mich., doesn't think there's a need to move quickly on a funding relief bill.
By deadline, Matthew Beck, a spokesman for Mr. Levin, had not returned telephone calls.
Mr. Tiberi also claimed that House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., had advised business leaders that they would “have to negotiate a bill with the AFL-CIO to get it passed.”
“I am just stunned that George Miller can have this influence,” Mr. Tiberi said.
But Aaron Albright, a spokesman for Mr. Miller, said: “We have urged all stakeholders to work cooperatively so that pension relief can be quickly approved.”
Also during the teleconference, Lynn Dudley, ABC senior vice president of policy, said that one bone of contention in the legislative negotiations is a proposal supported by the AFL-CIO to require companies that opt for 15-year amortization relief to agree to continue their DB plans in exchange for the relief.
“Plan sponsors who maintain active plans should deserve more relief than plan sponsors who have frozen their plans,” said Lauren Rothfarb, an AFL-CIO lobbyist, in response to Ms. Dudley's comment. “That's where the House is heading, and we support that construct.”