Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Finance Committee, is re-introducing a pension protection bill for what he dubs our “post-Enron” world. Grassley says the legislation is called the National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act — or “Nest Egg” for short. Grassley says the bill would “expand protection for retirement plan participants, require companies to allow employees to diversify out of company stock, and thirdly, expand the portability of retirement plan assets, and lastly, simplify long-existing pension laws and regulations.” Grassley says this bill has nothing to do with Social Security but is all about retirement security. He says the bill got unanimous approval from the Finance Committee last year but never won final approval in the full Senate. Grassley says it’s a very important proposal to better protect workers’ pensions from “executive greed.” Grassley says several pieces of legislation have been signed into law in response to scandals at Enron and other corporations, adding, “The headlines have died down, but workers’ pensions are still too vulnerable.”President Bush will deliver the first State of the Union address of his second term Wednesday night. Senator Grassley says there are several things he’d like to hear the president talk about. Grassley says “I would expect him to be very precise about his goals on Social Security, tax reform, international trade policy and health issues, and then emphasize the necessity of putting the country on a track to get the budget deficit in half.” Grassley says he does -not- expect the president to set any sort of date in the address as to when U.S. troops will be leaving Iraq, however, Grassley does expect Bush to talk about the eventual pull-out. Grassley says “I would hope that he could give us some quantifiable definition of withdrawal.” For example, once Iraq’s army has 100-thousand members who are well-trained and there are 50-thousand policemen, then the U.S. could pull out 50-thousand troops. Grassley says setting a date for U-S withdrawal would only be helping the enemy to plan for a date on which they could launch an offensive.
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