July 24, 2019

Harris, Colleagues Reintroduce Butch Lewis Act and Reaffirm Commitment to Solving Pension Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Wednesday joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and 22 of their colleagues in reintroducing the Butch Lewis Act in the Senate as the House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill this afternoon. Named for a retired Ohio Teamster, the Butch Lewis Act would address the pension crisis threatening the retirement of more than 1.3 million workers and retirees nationwide and putting small businesses across the country in jeopardy.

“Every worker should have the assurance they will be able to retire with dignity,” said Senator Harris. “American workers across the nation spend most of their lives paying into their pensions with the expectation that it will be there when they retire. The Butch Lewis Act will make sure we honor that promise.”

Along with Senators Harris, Brown, Smith, Manchin, and Minority Leader Schumer, cosponsors of the bill include: Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker(D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Gary Peters (MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The Butch Lewis Act would create a loan program to allow failing pensions plans to borrow the money they need to put plans back on solid ground and ensure they can meet their commitments to retirees and workers for decades to come. By putting the plans back on solid footing, the bill would also protect small businesses from the threat of closing their doors if plans are allowed to fail. The bill would solve the pension crisis without cutting benefits retirees have earned, and it would put safeguards in place to encourage pensions to remain strong so they can be there for today’s workers when they retire.