Congress must save pensions for 1.3M retirees: Fmr. House Speaker John Boehner

Former House Speaker John Boehner and former Rep. Joe Crowley are joining forces in a bipartisan effort to combat a looming pension crisis affecting nearly 1.3 million American retirees.

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Boehner, the Ohio Republican who retired in 2015, is part of the Retirement Security Coalition, a leading force that is raising awareness to the underfunded multiemployer benefit plans.

“The job Joe and I have taken on is to try to elevate the seriousness of this problem," he told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on Thursday. "And Congress really does in fact need to act."

An estimated 10 million people participate in the multiemployer pension plans and 120 plans that cover 1.3 million workers may go bankrupt. There are 1,400 plans that will be insolvent in 20 years, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

“These pensions are becoming insolvent,” Crowley, the former congressman from New York who defeated in a major upset by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the 2018 midterms, said. “We have 15 already that have gone south, we have 13 on [their] way.”

The Washington bickering that has pinned both political parties so far apart begs the question of whether lawmakers are able to pass any comprehensive legislation.

Boehner said the current political climate seems “a little strange” but Congress has come together to deal with important issues affecting Americans.

“It’s tough to get anything done in Washington,” he said. “But when you got 10 million retirees whose pensions are on the line, Congress knows this issue is important."

Failure to save the pensions, Crowley said, could have a severe impact on the U.S. economy because it has the potential to leach onto other retirement plans.

“A blow to our economy that will mean a lot in terms of loss to the revenue of our country and to jobs in our country if this isn't addressed,” he said.

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The Retirement Security Coalition includes employers, labor unions and policy experts in conjunction with UPS, the United Association of Plumbers and Fitters and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.