Norcross on House-Passed ‘Butch Lewis Act’ that Helps Retirees by Addressing the Multiemployer Pensions Crisis
July 24, 2019
Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross, a leader on retirement security in Congress, cheered the bipartisan House passage of H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act. The Act – commonly called “The Butch Lewis Act” – addresses the nation’s worsening multiemployer pension crisis and Norcross called for his colleagues to support workers ahead of the vote.
A transcript of Norcross’ remarks, as prepared for delivery, follows:
“Thank you, M. Speaker. I rise today to urge all of my colleagues to support the Butch Lewis Act – a bill that makes sure hardworking Americans have secure retirements.
“I’ve been talking about pensions for decades and it seems some of my friends on the other side of the aisle seem to be forgetting that pensions are not handouts. Pensions are deferred wages that are relied upon and they allow people to pay their bills and put food on the table.
“I know that firsthand. I was an IBEW electrician and I participated in the multiemployer pension system for 37 years – as both a rank-and-file worker and a negotiator. My first Floor speech in Congress was on pensions, and the night before the speech, I received my first check. I know how workers feel and I know that there is too high a cost to do nothing.
“There are around two million Americans with pension plans in critical and declining status and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) could become insolvent as soon as 2025.