This week U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor, calling for action to protect the hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees across the country at risk of losing the pensions they earned through decades of work. Donnelly highlighted the stories of a number of Hoosiers who would be harmed by pension cuts.
Donnelly said, in part, in his speech, “We are here once again calling on Congress to enact pension legislation before it’s too late…If we don’t act soon, in my home state of Indiana, nearly 22,000 Teamsters and 2,700 mineworkers could face significant pension cuts…They don’t want a handout…They did their part, now it’s time for us to help make good on what they were promised. They don’t care about politics. They don’t want anything to do with partisanship. They just want us to fix this. That’s part of why we were sent here, to solve problems, and it’s time solve this problem now. Let’s reach a solution that allows American workers to retire with the financial security they expected and the financial security they earned.”
Without congressional action, the nearly 150 multiemployer pension plans listed by the U.S. Department of Labor as in “critical or endangered status” could fail, potentially leading to the collapse of the federal pension insurance program, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. This could impact thousands of Hoosier Teamsters and mineworkers.
Donnelly has advocated for and worked to protect the pensions of Hoosier workers. He helped introduce the bipartisan Miners Pension Protection Act, which would ensure the necessary funds are available to keep the United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan solvent. He also co-sponsored the Butch Lewis Act, which would put pension plans on solid footing through new financing options, while safeguarding pensions for retirees and current workers. Earlier this year, Donnelly also spoke on the Senate floor, highlighting the importance of protecting the pensions of thousands of Hoosiers.
Last year Donnelly helped lead the charge to pass and enact a permanent, bipartisan fix to ensure Indiana’s retired mineworkers and their families receive the health care benefits they earned. Thanks to that fix, thousands of coal miners across the country and in Indiana were able to keep their health care benefits.
To watch Donnelly’s speech in the Senate, click the image above or click here.