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Congress Funds Government, Changes Hours of Service and Multi-Employer Pensions

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The House and Senate have passed a $1.1 trillion spending measure that funds most of the government through September 30, 2015. The bill consists of 11 full fiscal year funding bills (omnibus) with one continuing resolution (CR) until February for the Department of Homeland Security. The House passed the bill the night of December 11 by a vote of  219-206. Voting two days later, the Senate passed the package by 56-40. The full text can be found here.

A policy rider included in the bill eliminates, temporarily, the two new restrictions on the use of the 34-hour restart: the 1-5 a.m. provision and the 168-hour rule. All other HOS provisions of the July 2013 rule remain in effect, including the 30-minute break provision. The suspension of the restart provisions will be in effect until September 30, 2015. A policy rider allows Mississippi, Wisconsin and Kentucky to keep the higher weight limits allowed on segments of roads that are being changed to Federal Interstates.

Also included is comprehensive multi-employer pension reform by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-02-MN) and Ranking Member George Miller (D-11-CA). The compromise, based on recommendations from a coalition of unions and businesses called "Solutions Not Bailouts," includes the following:
  • Makes permanent the multi-employer provisions under the Pension Protection Act of 2006;
  • Gives the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) the authority to promote and facilitate plan mergers;
  • Allows plan sponsors to apply to the PBGC to partition a plan;
  • Increases the PBGC premium from multi-employer plans from $13/person to $26/person and bases future increases on the wage index; and
  • Allows for benefit suspensions in certain plans in critical status.
The plan is estimated to save nearly 10 million workers from losing their multi-employer pension plans, including many in the ready mixed concrete industry. Last week, NRMCA joined a group of construction industry organizations on a letter to Congress supporting the measure.   

For more information, contact NRMCA’s Kerri Leininger at or Elizabeth Fox at

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