Boehner House Committee Set For March 5 PSA Vote

February 28, 2003 ( - US House Republicans are trying one more time to push a sweeping pension reform bill through Congress with the GOP controlling both sides of the Capitol.

House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Employer-Employee Relations Chairman Representative Sam Johnson (R-Texas) announced that they reintroduced the Pension Security Act (HR 1000). The Pension Security Act (PSA) sailed out of the House last year with a comfortable margin, but died in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Boehner and Johnson said in a statement that the Education & the Workforce Committee is scheduled to vote on the legislation on Wednesday and that it goes to the floor as quickly as possible after that. The statement said the latest version of the PSA, which largely mirrors the first version, carries more than 50 co-sponsors.

“In order to prevent more massive losses to 401(k) accounts in the aftermath of an Enron-like collapse, Congress’ first priority must be providing workers with new pension protections,” Boehner said in a statement. “Workers around the country are waiting for us to act on these long-overdue reforms.  Expanding worker access to professional investment advice and giving workers new rights to diversify their 401(k) portfolios are key components of our retirement security agenda.”

The PSA will give workers the ability to diversify their retirement savings within three years, expand worker access to investment advice, empower workers to hold company insiders accountable for abuses, and give workers better information about their pensions, according to the Boehner statement.

Combs Backs PSA Approval

A prominent US Department of Labor (DoL) official lent her support to the effort when she called on lawmakers in to pass the PSA to protect American workers from Enron and WorldCom-like abuses (See   Combs Calls for Pension Reform Passage).  

Ann Combs, assistant DoL secretary for Employee Benefits Security and a key enforcer of the nation’s ERISA benefits law, told members of the House Employer-Employee Relations Subcommittee that financial ruin and personal heartache could have been avoided for the WorldCom and Enron workers.