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Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to Hold Hearing on How to Save Pension Plans

photo of Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown
Sen. Rob Portman (left) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (right), who serve on a special committee for pension plans, want compromise.

On Friday, Ohio’s two U.S. senators will hear from workers, retirees and employers whose pension plans are facing a financial crisis.

A joint House and Senate committee is trying to figure out how to rescue plans that benefit Teamsters, miners, carpenters and other union workers. The pensions took financial hits during the recession and have big liabilities coming due as people retire.

Dem. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s bill, called the Butch Lewis Act, would offer low-interest, 30-year loans from the Treasury Department for struggling plans. Brown said he’s open to a compromise with Republicans, and that the committee’s solution must be bipartisan.

“I’m hopeful that the members of this committee will either give us a counterproposal similar to Butch Lewis that doesn’t have cuts, or give us a reasonably good counterproposal,” he said.

Brown and Rep. Sen. Rob Portman both serve on the committee. Portman said without a compromise, the problem could have a negative impact on the economy at large. They’ll hold a public hearing Friday afternoon at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.