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Senate passes pension relief for charities, rural cooperatives

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation that gives charities and rural cooperatives pension funding relief.

The Cooperative and Small Employer Charity Pension Flexibility Act makes permanent for those types of defined benefit plan sponsors a temporary exemption from the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

The changes would affect an estimated 33 charitable and multiple-employer plans that were hamstrung by PPA funding regulations designed to prevent pension fund defaults.

Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, said her members' plans, which involve multiple employers, “pose virtually no risk of default and deserve different treatment under the Pension Protection Act.”

Senators also agreed to pass any similar legislation sent over from the House, which has not taken up the issue yet.