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House lawmakers voted Friday to prevent the federal insurer of corporate pension plans from taking over $6.6 billion in pension obligations from bankrupt United Air Lines parent UAL Corp. Many corporate pension plans are currently underfunded, and when they are terminated — most often through a bankruptcy filing — it falls to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which is the agency that insures corporate pension plans, to pay workers’ pensions. But the PBGC is running a record deficit of $23 billion. United’s default on four of its pension plans represents the largest default in U.S. history. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., offered the measure as an amendment to an unrelated appropriation bill for the U.S. Labor Department. Lawmakers approved the amendment with a 219-185 vote. While the House is expected to pass the overall appropriations legislation, the Senate must now decide whether it will keep the amendment in the legislation before forwarding it to President Bush to sign into law. Meanwhile, the effect of the measure is still undetermined. If the provision remains intact, it would not go into effect until Oct. 30. However, the PBGC has already taken over one of the United pension plans and is set to take over two more June 30. “We’re analyzing the amendment to see what impact it would have should it become law,” PBGC spokesman Jeffrey Speicher said Friday. Copyright �2005 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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