- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said Tuesday that the issue of pensions should be in the final spending bill lawmakers need to pass by Feb. 8 to keep the government funded.

“When you look at rural issues and the industrial Midwest, which feel particularly left behind, this issue of pensions is critical. We’ve got to fix it,” Ms. Heitkamp, North Dakota Democrat, said on CNN.

“We want this in the final passage of the bill that’s going to basically fund government,” she added.

Ms. Heitkamp supports the Butch Lewis Act sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, which would protect employer-sponsored pensions for workers. A 2014 spending bill signed by former President Barack Obama included language to cut pensions by up to 30 percent or more if the company was in financial trouble. Some retirees have already seen cuts to their pensions.

“That’s why it’s important for people like us to say, look, there are other issues that affect families. These are families that would be devastated by this level of [a] cut in their pension,” Ms. Heitkamp said.

Democrats pushed for a stand-alone vote on this bill prior to the Christmas recess, but they were unsuccessful. 

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