Senate Confirmation of PBGC Director Proposed

May 23, 2006 ( - US Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Montana) have introduced legislation that would require Senate confirmation of the executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

A Finance Committee news release said that the legislation would require approval of the PBGC head by both the Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.   Currently, the executive director is appointed by the Secretary of Labor.

“The future of defined-benefit pension plans is far from certain. The Finance Committee, the HELP Committee, and indeed the entire Senate have spent considerable time working to preserve the pensions of millions of workers, as well as to contain the growing deficit of the PBGC,” said Baucus, in the release. “The PBGC is the only entity standing between some American workers and financial ruin in retirement. The executive director’s position is just too important not to be subject to Senate oversight.”

Current PBGC executive director, Bradley Belt, has tendered his resignation as of May 31 (See Head of PBGC Resigns ).   Burdens on the agency have increased in the past two years, mostly due to airline bankruptcies and the resulting termination of pension plans.   The PBGC reported a deficit of $22.8 million as of September 30, 2005 (See PBGC Answers Questions on Reported Deficit).

The news release said Grassley and Baucus hope to attach their proposal to the larger pension reform bill now being worked on by the House and Senate (See Report: Memorial Day Now Current Pension Reform Deadline ).