House passes Sanders’ amendment on pension changes

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(Host) In Washington, the U.S. House has approved an amendment authored by a Vermont lawmaker that would protect workers from some changes to their pension plans.

Max Cacas from our Capitol Hill Bureau has more:

(Cacas) The amendment to the Treasury Department spending bill would ban the Federal Government from supporting IBM in its court fight to convert some employee pension funds to so-called “cash balance payment” plans. Vermont’s independent congressman Bernie Sanders, the author of the amendment, says a federal court ruling against these plans should stand:

(Sanders) “To my mind, and to the court’s mind and to the mind of the United States Congress, cash balance payments plans are illegal. They cut the pensions owed to older workers. And what the congress said is that president of the United States and his administration should not intervene on a major cash balance plan. So it’s a very important victory.”

(Cacas) Sanders notes that his amendment was approved by a vote of 237 to 162 in the full House. From here, the Treasury Department funding bill goes to the Senate, where Sanders says he is guardedly optimistic that his pension funding amendment will survive a conference committee to reconcile House and Senate versions of the measure.

For VPR News, I’m Max Cacas on Capitol Hill.

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