BAUCUS WORKS TO MODERNIZE RAILROAD RETIREMENT PROGRAM

Contact Bill Lombardi (406) 449-5480 / Barrett Kaiser (202)  224-4351

April 4, 2001

BAUCUS WORKS TO MODERNIZE RAILROAD RETIREMENT PROGRAM 
Bill Introduced Will Increase Benefits for Railroad Workers, Widows

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would provide increased retirement benefits to the 10,000 rail employees and retirement program beneficiaries in Montana.

The Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act would increase benefits for widows, reduce the retirement age for workers with 30 years of service, and cut in half the time needed to vest in the program, from 10 to five years. The bill also would allow for investment of railroad retirement assets in a diversified portfolio of investments. 

"This legislation represents a historic agreement between rail management and rail labor," Baucus said. "It will modernize the financing of the retirement system and will provide increased benefits to retirees and their dependents. The current system is inadequate. I hope this urgently needed legislation will be quickly enacted into law."

As the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus joined with Senator Orrin Hatch in introducing this legislation. The bill was approved by the Senate Finance Committee last year and passed the U.S. House by an overwhelming majority in the 106th Congress. 

"This is a strong bill that has the support of railroad companies, labor organizations, and retirees," Baucus said. "The railroad still plays a large role in Montana’s economy. And I want to have a retirement plan in place that employees and their families can depend on."

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