The House on Thursday approved billions of dollars in pension fund relief for airlines and other companies struggling to meet pension obligations to their employees.
The measure also would extend for a year some $7 billion in tax breaks that are set to expire. It passed by a voice vote.
The legislation, over the strong objections of the administration, would give two years of relief to airlines that are having trouble meeting the extra contributions required of companies with seriously underfunded pension plans.
Airlines next year and in 2005 would pay only 20% of what they are currently required to contribute under the program affecting chronically underfunded plans.
That translates into billions in savings for carriers such as UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, now under bankruptcy protection.