WASHINGTON -- A pension bill Congress sent to President Bush late last week is not as bad as it could have been, especially for General Motors and Ford Motor Co., industry leaders say.
"Some of the most dangerous provisions were dropped, and others were moderated," said Alan Reuther, the UAW legislative director. Among them, he said, was a requirement for sharply higher contributions by companies with low-rated securities, even if they fully fund their pension plans.
Delphi Corp. lost a bid for time to make catch-up pension fund payments when it emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization. But senators plan a follow-up bill that would provide relief for Delphi and similar companies.
Dorothy Coleman, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, called the 900-page pension bill a "mixed bag." It would raise costs for employers but provide more certainty about what they owe over time, she said.
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