Bush Signs Sweeping Pension Bill Reform

30,000 plans run by employers are estimated to be underfunded by $450 billion.

_requires companies to give employees more information about their pensions.

_puts certain "hybrid" plans, which have been challenged as discriminating against older workers, on stronger legal footing.

_says companies with seriously underfunded plans cannot promise their workers bigger benefits.

_makes permanent the higher savings contribution limits that were set to expire in the next decade. People can now put more money in their IRA and 401(k) accounts in the coming years. That includes a new option made available this year known as Roth 401(k)s. Those accounts let workers pay tax on their earnings before saving, but the money then accumulates and can be spent in retirement tax-free.

The Human Rights Campaign praised the law for changes that the group said will help same-sex couples by expanding benefits once only allowed for spouses or dependents.

Bush praised the measure for enacting the most sweeping overhaul in more than 30 years. But he said the changes must be coupled with revisions to the two government programs that benefit retirees, Social Security and Medicare.

"As more baby boomers stop contributing payroll taxes and start collecting benefits - people like me - it will create an enormous strain on our programs," said Bush, who turned 60 last month.

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