So back to the issue of the Central States Pension Plan. I was please to see the committee addressed it today in the markup. We must also address the Central States Pension Plan. I believe that promises made are promises kept. The promise made to the workers in the multistate pension plan is simple. That is, that the pension that they have earned through their decades of hard work will be there when they retire.
Saving for retirement is often described as a three-legged stool: Social Security one leg, a penion on one leg, and personal savings as another. A stable and secure retiremenet relies--a stable and secure retirement requires all three legs be strong. But some pension plans are facing funding challenges that could weaken one of the legs. Over 10 million Americans participate in a multiemployer plan. They are set up as part of a collective bargaining agreement. The Central States Pension Plan is such a plan.
It was established in 1955 to help truckers, as Senator Franken has pointed out, save for their retirement. Today, the Central States Pension Plan includes workers from the pipeline, construction, food processing, dairy, and trucking industries. About 70 multiemployer funding plans are facing funding challenges and do not have sufficient plan assets to pay all of the benefits promised.
The Multiemployer Pension Relief Act was added to the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 in the House. I voted against the Multiemployer Pension Relief Act because I was concerned that this bill would lead to severe pension cuts for our retirees and, in fact, disproportionately impact certain workers in certain states, including Minnesota.
I believe that we need to work together to find solutions that maintain the solvency of these multiemployer pension plans without severely penalizing current retirees and beneficiaries. I appreciate my colleagues' work on this particular solution.
But hundreds of thousands of participants, I will add, in the Central States Pension Plan still face the real possibility that their hard-earned pensions could be reduced. As I noted, they're mostly in the midwest. That's why it's called the Central States Plan. And this affects workers and retirees from these states--nearly 34,000 workers and retirees in Ohio, nearly 31,000 in Michigan, over 21,000 in Missouri, over 18,000 in Wisconsin, and nearly, 1,500 in North Dakota. In fact, seven of the top states in the central states are midwestern states.
In September 2015, the Central States submitted a proposal to the Treasury to reduce pension benefits for workers and retirees. Treasury reviewed the proposal, which would have resulted in benefit cuts for over 270,000 retirees and workers. In the way you, the workers, and retirees voted, these cuts, when the Treasury Department--after going around the country listening to the workers, looking at the plan, rejected the proposal because they felt it did not meet the tests under the AFNLGT. But that does not mean that this is over. It's far from over.
The Central States Pension Plan still faces insolvency by 2025 and the current future retirees could still face cuts. I voted agaisnt the act because I was concerned that under this act we might see exactly the kind of cuts that were proposed. What we saw was deep benefit cuts to our workers and retirees. And when we saw that the size of the potential cuts for the workers, retirees, and beneficiaires was not fairly distributed. Retirees who are 80 and older and disabled individuals were protected. That's the right thing to do.
But for everyone else, the possible cuts would leave them with a pension that did not reward their years of work. While many faced cuts--30 percent, 40 percent, or even 50 percent--I think people would be shocked to learn that over 44,000 people face pension cuts of over 60 percent. And nearly 2,500 people faced cuts of over 70 percent.
I don't believe that when my colleagues voted for this, they thought they were actually voting for 70 percent pension cuts, but that actually is the result of that proposed plan. And while we understand that there may be changes and that there may be more cuts--or some cuts--there must be a better way to do this than what was proposed.
I heard from people across my state who were trying to figureout how they're going to make ends meet as they face these drastic cuts. Michael from Shoreview wrote me about how he was faced years ago with a possible cut of 40 percent. Thomas from Sandstone, who is one years old, and after paying into the Central States Plan for 30 years was faced with a 60 percent cut. Steve from Maple Grove wrote me to let me know he is 69 and unable to return to work, but his pension would be cut by 37 percent.
Those are just a few examples. Many of these people are in their 60s and 70s, and they should be bale to secure in their retirement that they worked for their entire life.
While we temporarily avterted this with the proposal being rejected, we know it's not going to go away. The Central States Pension Plan filed its petition to reduce pension benefits. Since then an additional eight plans have also filed petition. Congress needs to work together to find a bipartisan solution to help pensioners across Minnesota and ourc country who depend on their pension being there for them in their golden years. We owe it to all Americans who played by the rules and worked hard throughout their lives for a secure pension. I yield the floor.