Enzi: Pension Conference to Wrap Up after Congress Reconvenes

April 12, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A prominent US Senate Republican leading the ongoing effort to hammer out a House-Senate pension reform compromise bill predicted the conference committee's work should wrap up shortly after the lawmakers' Easter recess.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming), who chairs the conference committee (See    Enzi Gets Nod as Chair of Congressional Pension Reform Conference Committee ), said HR 2830 could be ready for a final vote just after Congress returns April 24, BNA reported.

Enzi said the conferees “are making progress and are moving closer to a point of agreement on the major pieces” with the nine Republicans and seven Democrats on the conference panel for HR 2830 “more than 80% percent of the way on getting the major pieces together.”

“This bill has a whole lot of gears. Everyone on the Conference Committee is responsible for several of those gears, but nobody has wanted to add their own piece until all the other gears were meshing together, Enzi told reporters. “Now, we have some of the major gears meshing and moving this project forward,” he added.

A prominent Democrat, however, had a different perspective. House Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Representative George Miller (D-California), another member of the conference committee, took issue with Enzi’s statement.

“I’m surprised to hear Senator Enzi’s statement that progress is being made. I’m not aware that progress is being made. Democrats have been excluded from this process. Senator Enzi promised an open, bipartisan process, and instead partisan meetings are being held in secret. I urge him to commence bipartisan, bicameral meetings,” Miller complained.

House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) also said publicly that he forsees work on the pension compromise to wrap up just after Congress reconvenes (See  Boehner: Expect Pension Compromise after Congressional Break ).