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Government & Politics

Renacci Dismisses the 'Butch Lewis Act' as Unlikely to Pass Congress, Save Pensions

photo of Sherrod Brown with Teamsters

Some 1.3 million retired unionized workers are facing a growing crisis surrounding underfunded pensions. And with 60,000 of those in Ohio, it’s sure to be an issue in the campaign for U.S. Senate.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is pushing the Butch Lewis Act, named in memory of a Cincinnati labor leader. It would use treasury bonds to create loans to shore up multi-employer pension funds. And Brown says he wants bipartisan support for his act from the rare joint House-Senate Committee considering it.

Whatever the committee decides, “It goes direct to the Senate floor and the House floor – no amendments, no monkey business – voted up or down and sent to the president. That’s the way we wrote it because we wanted to take it out of politics as much as you can in an election year,” he said.

Brown says it’s not a bailout, but he doesn’t have an estimated cost.

His opponent this fall is Republican Congressman Jim Renacci. His spokesperson says he also wants a lasting solution, but the Butch Lewis Act wouldn’t pass Congress and potentially would come at a tremendous cost to the taxpayer.