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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974A Political History$
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James Wooten

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520242739

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520242739.001.0001

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A Green Light in the Senate

A Green Light in the Senate

(p.190) 6 A Green Light in the Senate
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974

James A. Wooten

University of California Press

The content of any legislation the Senate passed would be determined in negotiations between the Labor and Finance Committees. The business community’s desire for federal preemption greatly increased the Labor Committee’s influence. Developments in the House strengthened the Democratic leadership and the party majority. Pension reform got off to a fast start in the House, but action there was likely to be slower. As the House and Senate moved forward on pension issues, the White House reassessed its own program. Richard Nixon’s pension program was more noteworthy for what it did not propose than for what it did. The need to preempt state laws raised an arcane but important issue of committee jurisdiction. The compromise shared enforcement authority for prohibited transactions. After years of work, Jacob Javits, Harrison Williams, and their staffs celebrated a legislative landmark: passage of the first comprehensive pension reform bill by one chamber of Congress.

Keywords:   Senate, Labor Committee, Finance Committee, pension reform, Richard Nixon, Jacob Javits, Harrison Williams, White House

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