U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today that Senate passage of a bipartisan amendment should strengthen the pension plan of current and former Department of Energy (DOE) employees at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge) and Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12), making up for shortfalls caused by stock market losses. Without this amendment, additional funding for the pension plan could be taken from cleanup and defense programs at Oak Ridge and Y-12, resulting in job losses at both facilities.
“The amendment should not only help protect retirement benefits, but it also would help preserve funding for research being done at Oak Ridge and Y-12,” said Senator Alexander. “This is a priority of mine and will continue to be.”
Due to the market downturn, DOE pension plans are not meeting funding levels required under the Pension Protection Act. The amendment that passed the Senate, offered by Senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Alexander, makes room in the Fiscal Year 2010 budget for legislation that could correct these pension losses without forcing DOE to cut jobs and research at their facilities.