Sen. Tina Smith Named to Bipartisan Select Committee to Solve Pensions Crisis Facing 22,000 Minnesotans

Sen. Tina Smith was appointed to a newly formed bipartisan panel tasked with finding solutions to a financial crisis that’s threatening the hard-earned pensions of 22,000 retired Minnesotans.

The Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, established as part of the bipartisan budget agreement reached earlier this month, will provide recommendations and legislative language to significantly improve the solvency of multiemployer pension plans and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Without reforms, as many as 100 pension plans across the country—including the troubled Central States Pension Fund, which covers those 22,000 Minnesotans—are on track to become insolvent.

“There are 22,000 Central States retirees in Minnesota, and numerous Minnesotans in other underfunded pension plans, who put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to know that their hard-earned pensions will be safe and secure,” Sen. Smith, who’s also a member of the Senator Labor and Pensions Committee. “But until there’s action to solve the crisis facing the multiemployer pension system, these folks are being forced to live in retirement limbo. I’m glad I can bring Minnesota’s perspective to this bipartisan select committee, and I’m committed to finding actual solutions to address this pensions emergency.”

Democratic members of the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans include:

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), co-chair
Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)                                                                                                     

Once seated as Senator, Sen. Smith immediately started fighting to solve the pensions crisis. One of her first meetings was in Duluth, where she talked with retirees whose hard-earned pensions are at risk of being drastically reduced due to chronic underfunding of the Central States Pension Fund. She also cosponsored legislation—the Butch Lewis Act—to help protect the pensions of retirees in Minnesota and across the country.