WASHINGTON – A bill that would hold companies accountable for pension plan provisions was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate on Nov. 16. The Senate bill requires companies to protect their pensions with rules that are “fair and predictable and includes needed changes to help avoid the danger of plans that are terminated,” according to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), one of the co-sponsors. The bill also includes a provision to help the companies impacted by Hurricane Katrina by giving the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. authority to postpone filing and payment deadlines for pension plans affected by Katrina. PBGC insures defined-benefit plans and recently announced it is carrying a $22.8 billion deficit. The bill passed 97-2 in the Senate and is on its way to the House, which is scheduled to review its version in December.

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