Pension Reform Clears Senate

May 23, 2001 ( - The Senate has passed the Restoring Earnings to Lift Individuals and Empower Families (RELIEF) Act by a 62-38 margin, sending the pension reform-bearing tax bill on to conference.

A dozen Democrats crossed the aisle to join a united Republican front in support of the $1.35 trillion tax package.

The bill contains a number of key pension reform issues (see Pension Reforms Stretched Out) which will need to be reconciled with the House version .

The two houses also have to reconcile the differences in the tax cuts between the two bills.

Jeffords Announcement Pending

Meanwhile, press reports began to circulate that Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT) had already told staffers that he had decided to change his party affiliation to independent – a move that would give Senate Democrats the majority in that body for the first time since 1994. 

That would give the Democrats the ability to bring bills to the floor, and would change the chairmanship of most committees.

Jeffords postponed a planned announcement for this afternoon, choosing instead to return to his home state of Vermont to unveil his future plans on Thursday.

– Nevin Adams

For much more, go to TRACK PENSION REFORM