What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Pension Protections : H.R. 1000. Employee Pensions/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Bill Intending to Safeguard Employee Pension Accounts Which Failed to Extend Those Rules to Corporate Executive Pension Plans.
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H.R. 1000. Employee Pensions/Vote to Recommit to Committee a Bill Intending to Safeguard Employee Pension Accounts Which Failed to Extend Those Rules to Corporate Executive Pension Plans.
house Roll Call 188     May 14, 2003
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In the House, one of the few procedural prerogatives afforded to opponents of legislation is the opportunity to make a motion to recommit. If successful, the recommit motion sends a measure back to the committee with jurisdiction on the issue and is usually accompanied with specific instructions to change the legislation. During House consideration of the Pension Protection Act, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) offered the motion to recommit the GOP-drafted bill with instructions to provide additional investment protections to workers whose companies choose to convert from a defined benefit to a cash balance benefit plan. One provision in the instructions to recommit the bill would have allowed workers with at least ten years of service to the company to choose whether they wanted to switch to a cash balance plan. Whereas defined benefit plans describe an employee's benefit as a series of monthly payments for life after retirement, cash balance plans define the benefit in terms of an account balance. Moreover, unlike cash balance plans-which are often composed mainly of stocks that can fluctuate based on the stock market-defined benefit plans provide workers with financiallysecure savings; defined benefit plans are secure from market variability because the defined benefit is fixed over time. In the view of Progressives, workers should be allowed to choose between the two types of pension plans and supported the motion to recommit on those grounds. Progressives argued that defined benefit plans are preferable to cash balance plans because defined benefit plans provide a guaranteed income for retired workers even during periods of economic recession. Support for Miller's motion was nearly divided along party lines and was defeated on a 202-226 vote.

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