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Top Three 11/22/17

Nov 21, 2017

1. The Senate Finance Committee approved its version of tax reform on a party-line vote late on November 16. Tensions ran high and will likely get worse when the measure is brought before the full Senate later next week.

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2. Late last week, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced a bill lauded by Democrats as a fix to the critically declining Central States Teamsters and the United Mine Workers’ multiemployer pension plans. The proposed plan is a loan guarantee program where low-interest loans are given to the pension plans and then invested in anticipated high return investments. With the return on these investments, the plans will then hypothetically be able to pay back both their unfunded liabilities and the federal government. This plan faces a steep uphill battle politically. In additional pension news, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) released its report for 2017 showing that the deficit for multiemployer pension plans has grown to $65.1 billion.

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3. On November 20, 2017, the Nebraska Public Service Commission approved in a 3-2 vote, an alternate route for the long-awaited Keystone XL pipeline which will link Canada’s Alberta oil sands to refineries in the United States. Nebraska was the last state to approve the project’s permits.

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