On May 29, Michigan Capitol Confidential reported that Congressman Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, was one of just nine Republicans nationwide to co-sponsor a bill that would bail out multi-employer union pension funds, putting taxpayers "on the hook for $165 billion in unfunded union pension liabilities," according to Americans for Limited Government.
Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that, anticipating Democratic losses in November and in advance of new accounting rules that will add more pressure to the affected pension systems, unions have begun a full-court lobbying press to get the bill passed this year. Specifically, the Senate companion to the bill that McCotter co-sponsored, this one introduced by Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania. Says The Journal in an editorial:
If Democrats could shift orphan company pensions to the taxpayer, the liabilities for the remaining companies would fall dramatically, and the multi-employer scheme could continue. Unions and employers could keep promising current workers fabulous pay and benefits, without which they have little chance of stemming their continuing decline in membership.
Two labor watchdogs cited in the Michigan Capitol Confidential article put this more succinctly with their own revised title for the measure: The "Bail Out the Irresponsible Unions Act."