log in to manage your profile and account
- Create your account
- Receive up-to-date newsletters
- Set up text alerts
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 11:03 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The pension crisis that threatens the retirement savings of 1.5 million Americans also poses the risk of driving the U.S. economy into a tailspin, a panel of witnesses told a congressional panel.
Witnesses from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses, including UPS, told the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multi-employer Pension Plans that should the estimated 150 to 200 multi-employer pension plans that are in danger become insolvent, the companies that paid into those plans would be held liable. That would drive many of the companies into bankruptcy. Under current rules, employers can’t leave plans in crisis without paying large sums or declaring bankruptcy.
“This is not a future crisis,” Aliya Wong, executive director of retirement policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said. “It is a current crisis.”
Wong said that the uncertainty has caused employers to lose credit opportunities, receive less-than-optimal lending rates and encounter problems with employee retention. It is also affecting employers who are still in healthy plans, not just the ones in declining plans, and both union and non-union employees.
The chief legal and external affairs officer for Schnuck Markets in St. Louis, Mary Moorkamp, said her company has been forced to continue making contributions into a pension plan that is projected to be insolvent within seven years. Its employees, she said, will be fortunate if they receive a significant portion of their anticipated benefits. The crisis, she said, has caused recruiting problems, stunted the company’s growth and distorted business decisions.
The joint committee — made up of Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate — faces a daunting task: find a solution to save multi-employer pension plans that are at risk of insolvency.
The plans were created to allow employers to pool resources in providing their workers with retirement benefits.
The pension plans, negotiated by unions, are run by trustees selected by the unions and employers. For years, most of the plans ran at a surplus, but the past two recessions, combined with corporate bankruptcies, have taken a toll on the solvency of the pensions.
Around the country, 10 million workers are served by 1,400 multi-employer plans. Of those plans, 150 to 200, covering 1.5 million workers and retirees, could run out of money within 20 years, according to the Pension Rights Center.
The committee has had one business meeting and three hearings and will hold three more hearings — two in Washington, D.C. and one in the field. Led by co-Chairmen Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, it has until late November to find a solution. Congress must vote up or down on any proposed solution, with no amendments. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, also serves on the committee.
Brown is pushing a bill he introduced — the Butch Lewis Act, named after a Cincinnati-area retiree who died fighting for his pension — that would create a low-interest, 30-year federal loan to troubled pension plans, with no cuts to retiree benefits.
Brown said that although most people are aware of the threat to pensioners, “the threat to current workers and to small businesses — and to our economy as a whole — is equally real.”
But Hatch made clear that he isn’t convinced that Brown’s bill is the solution.
Portman, meanwhile, said he wants “to keep everything on the table at this point,” but he urged continued research on possible solutions.
Published: Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 2:19 AM
Updated: Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 2:19 AM
TORONTO — One person was killed and the suspect is dead after a gunman shot 14 people in Toronto’s Greektown neighborhood Sunday, police said. A child was among the injured, police said.
The Latest: 1 victim dead after man shoots 14 in Toronto. https://t.co/INIevyyU4c— The Associated Press (@AP) July 23, 2018
Here are the latest updates:
Update 2:01 a.m. EDT July 23: Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said the child in critical condition is an 8- or 9-year-old girl, the Washington Post reported. He described the victim who was killed as a “young lady,” according to The Associated Press.
No further information about the condition of the victims was immediately available.
Saunders said the shooter used a handgun in the rampage and was killed after exchanging gunfire with officers. The shooting did not appear to be random, Saunders said.
One witness, John Tulloch, said he heard as many as 30 gunshots, the AP reported.
A video circulating on Twitter appeared to capture the sound of gunfire.
>> Click here to watch (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)
My evening was nice until I heard shooting right out of my place on the danforth. So scary!! The gun violence in Toronto is crazy. pic.twitter.com/eNHLlUlp6r— n💫 (@nsxoxoii) July 23, 2018
Update 1:06 a.m. EDT July 23: The child who was shot, a young girl, is currently in critical condition, according to Toronto police.
One city official, Councillor Paula Fletcher, said the shooting was not gang-related. Fletcher and Councillor Mary Fragedakis also said the gunman was emotionally disturbed.
Toronto Police Chief Saunders has updated media from scene. 14 victims were shot with a handgun. 1 female adult has died. 1 young girl in critical condition. Suspect is dead (not included in 14 victim total) Witnesses call 416-808-2222 Anonymous tips 1-800-222-8477 #GO1341286 ^sm— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) July 23, 2018
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 3:21 PM
EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Some Ritz products are being voluntarily recalled due to the potential presence of salmonella.
Mondelez Global LLC announced the voluntary recall in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Saturday.
The affected products are some Ritz Cracker Sandwiches and Ritz Bits products. According to a news release, the products contain whey powder as an ingredient, and the whey powder supplier has recalled the ingredient due to potential salmonella.
Salmonella infection can lead to death for young children, frail people, elderly people and others with weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.
The specific products under recall are below. Images and UPC numbers of specific products are at the Mondelez International website.
Customers with the impacted products should discard the products. There have been no illnesses reported to the company related to the recalled products.
Published: Monday, July 23, 2018 @ 4:46 AM
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump took to Twitter late Sunday to issue a fiery, all-caps warning to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who told Trump hours earlier to stop "playing with the lion's tail ... or else you will regret it."
"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE," Trump wrote in the 11:24 p.m. tweet. "WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
Iranian state media called Trump's tweet "passive" and said he was just imitating previous remarks from Iranian leaders, The Associated Press reported.
Trump's comments came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech slamming Iran, comparing its government to the mafia and accusing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, of having "his own personal, off-the-books hedge fund called the Setad, worth $95 billion."
"Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitized to the regime’s authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses – and the United States under President Trump will not stay silent, either," Pompeo said Sunday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, California. "In light of these protests and 40 years of regime tyranny, I have a message for the people of Iran: The United States hears you; the United States supports you; the United States is with you."
Pompeo's official Twitter account later shared several quotes from the speech.
پس از #چهل_سال بیداد، مردم پر افتخار ایران درمورد سوء استفاده های حکومتشان ساکت نمی نشینند. ما هم ساکت نخواهیم ماند. من پیامی برای #مردم_ایران دارم: ایالات متحده صدای شما را می شنود. ایالات متحده از شما حمایت می کند. #ایالات_متحده با شماست. pic.twitter.com/kyKEgZ0BGB— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 23, 2018
ایدئولوژی #رژیم_ایران ایرانیان را چنان خشمگین کرده که نمی توانند کشورشان را نرمال بخوانند. #قانون_اساسی ای که نابودی همسایه اش را تقدیس می کند نرمال نیست. #شکنجه مردمش نرمال نیست. بزرگترین کشور #حامی_تروریسم بودن، نرمال نیست. pic.twitter.com/ZqEbwhjabX— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 23, 2018
میوه #چهل_سال #انقلاب_اسلامی ایران تلخ بوده است. چهل سال #دزدسالاری. چهل سال که ثروت مردم صرف #تروریسم شده است. چهل سال که ایرانیان به خاطر ابراز حقوقشان محبوس شده اند. ما امیدواریم چهل سال بعدی توام با #آزادی باشد، نه #سرکوب. pic.twitter.com/UNEZIqyrMw— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 23, 2018
The rial is plummeting. A third of #Iran's youth are unemployed. A third of Iranians live below the poverty line. But if you’re a politically-connected member of the regime's elite, the Iranian economy is going great. pic.twitter.com/NCfyv3rCn1— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 23, 2018
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Published: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 8:03 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 22, 2018 @ 9:35 PM
FALLON, Nev. — A man fatally shot one person and injured another at a Nevada church during service Sunday afternoon, officials said.
One person is dead. The other victim was taken to a hospital with a leg injury, Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford told KOLO. The identities have not been released.
The suspected gunman, John Kelley O’Connor, 48, walked into Fallon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around 1 p.m., started firing, then left and walked home. He is in custody, Tedford told KOLO.
“Our hearts go out to the family members of those who have lost someone and those who were in the church today where the tragedy occurred,” Tedford told KOLO.
The shooting happened in front of about 50 other parishioners, KOLO reported.
“It’s really too early to understand the motive,” Fallon Police Chief Kevin Gehman told KOLO.
Deeply saddened by the act of senseless violence in Fallon today at the LDS church. We are in contact with Mayor Tedford and other officials. My family and I are praying for all loved ones, churchgoers, and community members impacted by this tragedy.— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) July 22, 2018