Policy snags on pensions, financial regulation hold up must-pass, $1.1 trillion spending bill

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Lingering snags caused by policy differences are holding up a must-pass, $1.1 trillion spending bill in Congress, including a provision that could lead to pension cuts for more than 1 million retirees and a plan to relax new regulations on some risky financial products.

The massive measure is the main piece of unfinished business before the lame-duck Congress packs up and Republicans take full control of Capitol Hill next month.

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Money issues have been worked out, but hang-ups on Monday included a demand by House Republicans to ease regulations on businesses that use derivatives to hedge risk. Talks continued on the complicated pension issue, which involves politically tricky legislation to shore up economically distressed multiemployer pension plans by permitting a reduction of benefits for current retirees.