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The pension checks of an estimated 750,000 American retirees could be reduced if a pension reform proposal gaining traction on Capitol Hill becomes law.

The reform package, drawn up by an employer-worker coalition created by the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, would allow troubled multiemployer pension plans to cut benefits currently being paid to people already retired.

Slashing existing payouts isn’t legal under current pension law, except for narrow exceptions with severely stressed plans, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that backstops the country’s pension plans. The traditional approach to the underfunding problem has been increasing the money employers put into plans, and shrinking future benefits, it said.

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