CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s United States Senator Mike Enzi criticized the “Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Plans Act of 2019” in a speech on the floor of the Senate.

The bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but a Wednesday, Oct. 23 statement from Enzi’s office says if it becomes law, it “would bail out some of the worst-funded multiemployer pension plans at taxpayers’ expense.”

“‘My concern with this bill is not just with its immediate costs to taxpayers, but also what it would mean down the road,'” Enzi said.  “’This bill would send the signal to private pension plans that regardless of how underfunded they are or how risky their investments, the taxpayer will be there to bail them out.’”

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Enzi’s office says that the bill would provide both cash payments and low-interest loans to some of the 1,235 “private sector multiemployer plans” that are underfunded.

Citing Pension Benefit Guranty Corporation data, the statement says that such plans are underfunded by over $637 billion.

“The official Congressional Budget Office cost estimate of the bill says it would increase deficits by $49 billion over the next ten years, but a separate analysis from the budget office points out that the true cost and risk to taxpayers would actually be much higher,” the release adds. “Enzi said the total amount of new spending the bill would authorize over the next several decades, along with the added interest costs, would push the total cost to more than $100 billion.”

Enzi says that a recent survey found that 53% of likely voters nationwide oppose such pension fund bailouts, with 26% supporting and 21% undecided.

“’This bill is setting up the country for additional bailouts in the future, potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars,'” Enzi said. “’Only about 12 percent of private sector workers participate in a pension plan, and an even smaller number participate in these multiemployer plans. This bill would put the vast majority of workers who don’t have their own pension plans on the hook for bailing out the small percentage who do participate in multiemployer plans. That hardly seems fair.’”

Watch Enzi’s speech in this video:

By:  Brendan LaChance