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Senate Democrats named to multiemployer committee

Some Senate members were named to a new congressional committee dealing with struggling multiemployer pension funds on Monday.

The Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, created as part of the bipartisan budget agreement reached Feb. 7, calls for eight members from the House and eight from the Senate, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York announced the Senate Democratic members: Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Tina Smith of Minnesota.

"Congress must deliver a legislative fix to shore up pension plans by the end of the year, and I am confident that this extremely talented, dedicated group of Democratic senators on the joint select committees to solve the multiemployer pension crisis are just the right folks that middle-class Americans need in the ring fighting on their behalf to get the job done," Mr. Schumer said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is expected to name the Senate Republican members shortly. House members were announced Feb. 23.

The select committee will consider ways to improve the solvency of multiemployer pension plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s multiemployer program. The law requires it to hold public hearings and vote on legislative recommendations by Nov. 30, 2018. The select committees will be dissolved by Dec. 31.

Mr. Brown, who serves as co-chairman, is the lead sponsor of legislation that would create a federal loan program for multiemployer pension funds and a new Treasury Department office called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration to oversee the loan program, to be funded by the sale of Treasury-issued bonds to financial institutions.