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Clinton Proposes Steps To Protect Pensions

WASHINGTON (March 31) -- President Bill Clinton, a devotee of micro-policy proposals, suggested legislative changes today to improve pension protections and bolster pension audit procedures.

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At an afternoon briefing, Clinton announced that the government's Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation has been so successful it will show an $869 million surplus this year, the first surplus in its 22-year history. The agency insures private pension plans for millions of U.S. workers.(320K wav sound)

"All the steps we announced today, getting the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in the black, fighting for audit reform and giving employees better tools to protect their pensions are part of our overall commitment to achieving basic overall retirement security for America's working families," Clinton said.

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Clinton is supporting a measure to close loopholes preventing audits of existing pensions. The measure was not voted on in the last Congress. (352K wav sound)

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry says most of those affected by the loopholes are people participating in 401(k) retirement plans, and among the steps would be measures to guarantee that companies actually make contributions to the proper plans.(224K wav sound)

CNN's Carl Rochelle contributed to this report.


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