Boehner: Expect Pension Compromise after Congressional Break

March 30, 2006 ( - The closely watched negotiations between members of the US House and Senate have apparently gotten so bogged down that a final pension reform compromise will not be available until late April.

That was the latest word Thursday from an influential House Republican who said members of the House-Senate conference committee are still mired in meetings to hash out their differences, according to news reports. Those differences, reported House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), will put off a conclusion to the panel’s work at least until members return from their Spring recess April 23. The break begins April 10.

“We’re engaged in meetings of all sorts, and I do expect that when we return after the Easter recess that we’ll have a better shot at completing work on this,” Boehner told reporters when asked if Congress would finish work before recessing at the end of next week. “We’d like to, but I’m not sure that’s realistic.”

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming), the conference committee chair, had been aiming to wrap up work before April 7.

To give the talks some urgency, Enzi has said the final bill should be completed before many companies must make contributions to their traditional defined-benefit pension plans on April 15. The date was described as significant because it’s been argued that some companies with underfunded plans could face higher-than-expected contributions because the measure for calculating payments is reverting back to the 30-year Treasury bond yield.