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 US Senate. And the incumbent has a proposal he wants to see passed by the end of the year.
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 said he wants bipartisan support for his act from the rare joint House-Senate Committee considering it. “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,” Brown said.
Brown said it’s not a bailout, but he doesn’t have an estimated cost.
His opponent this fall is Republican Congressman Jim Renacci. His spokesperson said 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.