FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Information Contact:
A.J. (Jim) Norby
National Retiree Group Says U.S. House Is Playing
Scrooge by Not Passing Pension Reform Bill
Bipartisan Support is Urged
(WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2005) – The U.S. House of Representatives is playing the role of Scrooge with the announcement that a vote on pension reform legislation is unlikely this year, according to A. J. (Jim) Norby, president of the National Retiree Legislative Network.
“Failure to act will leave the Christmas stockings of retirees empty once again,” Norby said. “There is still time left, however, for House leaders to have a Scrooge-like epiphany and recognize the importance of passing stronger pension safeguards before adjourning for the holidays.”
Representing the interests of nearly 2 million retirees, the NRLN supports the efforts of Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Bill Thomas (R-CA) to schedule a floor vote in the next few days. Citing recent passage of the Pension Security and Transparency Act of 2005 (S. 1783) by a 97-2 vote in the U.S. Senate, Norby urged House members to take a similar bipartisan approach to its pending legislation (H.R. 2830).
In recent letters to House leaders, Norby noted, “Although we believe that the House bill can be improved in a number of ways to protect retirees and workers, we had hoped the House would pass its bill as soon as possible so that a conference with the Senate on the bill could have proceeded and a bill would have been on the President’s desk for signature soon.”
Norby urged the House leaders to take advantage of any opportunity to pass the bill in 2005. “However, it would be a travesty if the House should fail to pass pension reform legislation early in 2006,” Norby wrote. “It is time for House lawmakers to place a priority on safeguarding the pensions of millions of America’s workers and retirees.”
The NRLN official strongly criticized efforts to stall pension reform legislation in the House by corporate special interests and others. “If we delay legislation now, it may never see the light of day again because it has been such a battle with compromise on top of compromise to get it to this point,” Norby said. “America’s retirees have waited and waited for Congress to act and we are getting impatient. While we wait, more employers are pillaging the financial base for our retirement years.”
Norby added that retirees have a keen interest in pension reform legislation and will be following this issue closely in the 2006 election year for House members, if the House waits until next year to vote on its bill.
Based in Washington, D.C., NRLN is dedicated to securing federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of retirees in private and public sector health and pension programs. NRLN represents a non-partisan, grass roots coalition of retiree associations with a combined membership of nearly 2 million men and women who are seeking to protect their pension and health care benefits. For more information, visit the NRLN Web site at www.nrln.org.
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