New Bill Would Delay PPA Pension Funding Provisions

A new Congressional legislative proposal would delay implementation of new pension funding rules under the Pension Protection Act (PPA) for a year to better allow regulators to issue the necessary detailed guidance on the new mandates.

The proposed bill, H.R. 3868, will delay the implementation of the rules until January 1, 2009, in order to give the Treasury Department enough time to gather public comment and then issue written guidance on how the rules are to be implemented. The measure is sponsored by U.S. Representatives Earl Pomeroy (D-North Dakota) and Eric Cantor (R-Virginia).

“Pension plans are long-term commitments companies make to their employees. Allowing public comment on the rules that will be governing the retirement of millions of American workers is a critical step in the process,” Pomeroy said in a news release announcing the bill. “To assure that these complex and important pension regulations deliver the Pension Protection Act’s long term promise of greater security for the pensions of 20 million Americans, we must make sure that the most important stakeholders – workers and employers – have their say. Pushing back the effective date twelve months will allow adequate time for public comments.’

Added Cantor: “By providing additional time for our agencies to issue guidance and for the pension community to provide meaningful comment on that guidance, we will further the overarching goal of the PPA–to ensure a solid foundation for workers who count on their pensions as part of planning for a secure retirement.’

According to the announcement, even If guidance were issued immediately on all of the new funding rules “companies would have just about two months to understand and implement those rules for their employees’ pensions. Additionally, these complex rules have components that interact, so employers would have little time to evaluate how the rules would look as a whole.’

The lawmakers said employers don’t have enough time to incorporate the new funding costs into corporate budgets and make the needed changes in computer and recordkeeping systems.