One of the many obscure provisions jammed into a last-minute budget bill in 2014 endorsed and signed by President Obama is leading to what would be the first cuts in earned pension benefits to current retirees in over 40 years.
The Washington Post reports that the Treasury Department is on the verge of approving an application from the Central States Pension Fund—a plan that covers Teamster truckers in several states—to cut worker pensions by an average of 23 percent, and even more for younger retirees. Over 250,000 truckers and their families would be affected. Workers over 75, or those who have acquired a disability, would be exempt from the changes.
The bill that enables this—known as the “CRomnibus” because it was partially a continuing resolution to fund the government (CR) and partially an omnibus spending package to fund other parts of the government for a full year—was littered with riders, non-budget changes in law that attached themselves to the legislation like barnacles to a ship. These riders included the elimination of an entire section of Dodd-Frank derivatives regulations (as written by Citigroup lobbyists) and a large increase in the donation limits to party committees.
Despite the riders, Obama endorsed the bill and even whipped for its passage, assisted by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.