Butch Lewis Act passes House of Representatives: We are thrilled to report that the Butch Lewis Act, H.R. 397 (formally named the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act) passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday July 24 with a vote of 264 to 169. This was an overwhelmingly positive vote, with 29 Republicans joining our ranks to vote YES!
Here’s to the thousands of activists who wrote and called their members of Congress to advocate for the bill along with wonderful allied organizations including the National United Committee to Preserve Pensions and their member committees, the Teamsters Union, the Machinists Union, the AFL-CIO, AARP, the Boilermakers, Steelworkers, and Bakery Workers Unions, Musicians for Pension Security and everyone else who helped with this effort.
We, of course, want to thank Congressman Richard Neal and Speaker Nancy Pelosi for championing Butch Lewis and all the members who voted for it. We also want to thank Congressman Bobby Scott for his leadership in the Education and Labor Committee.
We are also excited that the Butch Lewis Act was introduced in the Senate by Senator Sherrod Brown and 26 co-sponsors.
When we started, everyone said that stopping pension cuts was impossible but look how far we’ve come.
We thought you’d want to see some of our recent activities related to multiemployer reform:
Karen Friedman wrote an op-ed, published in Newsweek the day the bill was passed urging members to vote for it.
PRC hosts annual National Training Conference: In June, we held our annual national training conference for the pension counseling attorneys from the six pension regional counseling projects. The projects provide free legal counseling to people in 30 states across the country, and every year they come to Washington DC for discussions on pension issues, and to learn from experts and each other. A highlight from this year’s national training conference for the Pension Counseling and Information Program was being able to hear from staff at federal agencies that regulate Americans’ retirement benefits. These included Tim Hauser, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Operations at the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and Connie Donovan, Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. We also heard from Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator at the Administration for Community Living, who gave comments at our reception for the pension counseling project attorneys.
Thanks to our Summer intern, Katie Jonckheer! Today is our last day with our summer intern, Katie, who is an undergraduate student at University of California, Berkeley. Katie has been with us all summer, learning the basics of pension law, attending markups and other meetings on Capitol Hill, sitting in on our National Training Conference, and getting to see the Butch Lewis Act pass in the House! This was particularly poignant for her because Katie is the granddaughter of Michael Gordon, the principal architect of ERISA who was a long-time board member of the Pension Rights Center. He was also the inspiration for our Michael S. Gordon Fellows Program. Fellows are distinguished retired pension experts who advise us on complex legal and policy issues and consult on cases.