Bush Won't Support Steel Legacy Bailout

March 5, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Steel industry retirees, who risk losing their pension, health-care and life insurance benefits following the bankruptcy filings of their former employers, shouldn't expect any help from President Bush, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Citing officials close to the administration, the paper reports that the president won’t be pushing for a bailout package that would take care of the financially troubled industry’s pension and health insurance legacy costs.

The decision hampers plans for the consolidation of the steel industry, which hinged on the federal government underwriting the retiree costs.

According to the report, administration officials are putting together a new plan, which would include tax credits for a portion of health insurance costs, and would utilize programs such as the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp (PBGC).

However, critics are quick to point out that the plan increases the costs of health care for retirees and does not replace the life insurance benefit.

Continuing the fight to protect the retiree benefits, The United Steelworkers of America is pushing for the introduction of federal legislation, sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D – West Virginia), which would earmark billions of dollars in assistance for steelworkers, according to the Wall Street Journal.