Senate Committee Approves Tax, Pension Reform Bill

May 17, 2001 ( - The Senate Finance Committee late Wednesday approved the Restoring Earnings to Lift Individuals and Empower Families (RELIEF) tax act by a 14-6 vote. The bill includes the Senate version of key pension reform provisions.

The RELIEF Act retained the pension provisions included in the bill submitted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) earlier this week , though somewhat scaled back from those originally presented in the Retirement Security and Savings Act (S. 742), or the House version, HR 10. 

The package now goes to the full Senate today for debate, with a final vote expected by Monday.

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On the Senate Finance Committee the 10 Republican members were joined by four democrats:

  • Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • John Breaux (D-LA)
  • Robert Torricelli (D-NJ)
  • Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

Next Steps

According to the American Benefits Council, a few slight modifications were made to the pension provisions in Grassley’s modification to his chairman’s mark.  Grassley reportedly dropped several ERISA pension provisions from the bill for parliamentary reasons.

However, Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT), chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over ERISA, is expected to seek to add those provisions back during Senate floor consideration.

House Status 

The House has taken up HR 1836, a reconciliation measure that focuses on a reduction in income tax rates, and whose passage will position the House and Senate to proceed to conference committee once the Senate approves the RELIEF Act.