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Biden to Ohio, Spotlighting Rescued Pensions for Millions | Business News

By Josh Book, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a bid to bolster his position with frustrated blue-collar voters, President Joe Biden will use the backdrop of a union training center in Cleveland on Wednesday to tell staff that his policies will raise troubled pension funds for millions of people now employed. Or retired.

Politically harmed by the 40-year high inflation and the damage caused by the epidemic, the president is anchoring his message to workers in Ohio’s former electoral bloc. With Donald Trump easily carrying it twice, the Bukit State is strongly Republican-leaning and this is Biden’s fourth visit as president because he personally works to reverse that electoral tide.

Biden’s speech at the Iron Workers Local 17 training center is set to announce a final administrative rule tied to his $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package from last year. The rule ensures full benefits for 2 million to 3 million workers and retirees, allowing troubled multi-company pensions to be completed financially.

About 200 aided pension schemes have faced potential bankruptcy without government assistance. Without full benefits, workers and retirees may struggle to pay for housing, food and other necessities. Financial assistance will help keep pension funds salvaged for about 30 years until 2051.

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Details about Biden’s remarks were shared by two administrative officials who insisted on anonymity to preview his speech.

Many employer plans are made by agreement between the company and a union and are insured by the Federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). In 2014, Congress passed the Multi-Officer Pension Reform Act, which for the first time allowed plans to reduce benefits for workers and retirees so that pensions that were supposed to run out of money would be salvaged.

The American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, includes a special financial assistance program that allows struggling multi-officer pension plans to apply to the PBGC for assistance. The final rule unveiled by the Biden administration is designed to make it easier to get a higher rate of return on pension investments.

The effort to highlight a program to empower union workers comes as Democrats hope to pick a seat in the U.S. Senate in Ohio, where a strong show with working-class voters could play a key role.

Republican Rob Portman is leaving the Senate after two terms. He will be replaced by Democratic Republican Tim Ryan and Republican JD Vance, author of the memoir “Hillbilly Elegie,” which received approval from Trump during the primary. Ohio voters backed Trump in 2016 and 2020, nearly eight percentage points from his winning margin each time.

Although Biden boasts steady job growth – unemployment sits at 3.6% – Americans are largely dissatisfied with the way the Democratic president manages the economy as inflation continues to rise, interest rates rise and the stock market plummets. According to a survey released last week by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 28 percent of economists approve of Biden’s stewardship, down from 51 percent a year ago.

Biden has made extensive promises to boost Ohio’s economy. But its efforts have suffered a recent setback as Intel suspended the groundbreaking of a computer chip plant in the state capital of Columbus on July 22. The decision came after Congress postponed a planned investment of more than 50 50 billion in the semiconductor industry.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter last week that he would block the computer chip bill if congressional Democrats pass their budgets and domestic agenda as planned in the face of Republican opposition.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo says she is working with lawmakers on both sides to pass a final semiconductor bill, saying it is key to U.S. economic competition and national security.

“As is common in legislation, there will be roadblocks, but the delay in getting the bilateral innovation law to the president’s desk will not benefit anyone more than China,” he said in a statement.

Biden highlighted the planned computer chip plant as a promise of U.S. production, part of the message he hopes to emphasize by providing pension assistance for plant workers.

His efforts to finance the distressed pension will extend the prosperity of the government’s PBGC MultiMuplier Insurance Program from 2026 to 2055. Full benefits will be restored to 80,000 workers and retirees who have already cut their benefits.

Biden has often emphasized his administration’s efforts to support trade union members, who are a major part of his political identity. The president likes to declare that the middle class has created America and that “unions have created the middle class.” In an April speech to union workers in Washington, he offered support for Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York, who voted to form a union by declaring, “Amazon, here we are. Watch.”

In May, during an international brotherhood of electrical workers conference, Biden ridiculed Trump as the “great MAGA king,” joking about the former president’s “Make America Great” campaign slogan, which resonated with many blue-collar voters in the industrial Midwest. .

He is repeatedly hitting economic-political attacks against Republicans leading up to the November midterm elections – that the GOP has some practical solutions to all of its criticisms of the country’s key policy problems, including rising inflation.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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