House and Senate appropriators produced an omnibus spending bill late Monday that funds the U.S.government through September without another hike in PBGC premiums or other surprises.
The $1.012 trillion appropriations package, which awaits a vote in both chambers this week, builds on the framework set in a budget deal reached in December.
The spending bill contains fewer surprises than the budget deal, which offset spending increases in part by raising premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and increasing federal employee retirement contributions. It also curbs cost-of-living increases for military retirees, which the omnibus spending bill eased somewhat by exempting disabled veterans and their dependents.
The spending bill reinforces the Department of Labor's mandate to produce a new fiduciary rule proposal.
Pension plan sponsors are still bracing for the next round of budget talks, which will need to address reaching the federal debt ceiling in February and finding ways to fund the government in fiscal year 2015, which starts Oct. 1.
“We were very troubled by the PBGC increases (in the budget deal), and we are very concerned that we could have a repeat performance,” said Kathryn Ricard, senior vice president for retirement policy with the ERISA Advisory Committee in Washington.
Investment managers and advisers were disappointed that the spending bill cuts $324 million from the SEC budget request, which sought to hire 250 more examiners for the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations to boost oversight of investment advisory firms. “This makes it all the more important that Congress allow the SEC to supplement its resources through user fees,” said Neil Simon, vice president for government relations for the Investment Adviser Association in Washington.