province of the legislative and executive branches." 104 S. Ct. at 2718. Employers, anticipating the enactment of the MPPAA, thought they could escape a withdrawal liability by withdrawing from plans before the enactment of the act, however, the retroactive application of the legislation prevented many employers from accomplishing that goal. The Supreme Court found that it was "eminently rational for Congress to conclude that the purposes of the MPPAA could be more fully effectuated if its withdrawal liability provisions were applied retroactively." Gray, 104 S. Ct. at 2718. The Court noted that Congress was "properly concerned that employers would have an even greater incentive to withdraw if they knew that legislation to impose more burdensome liability on withdrawing employers was being considered." Id. Congress made the MPPAA retroactive to prevent employers from taking advantage of the "lengthy legislative process and withdrawing while Congress debated necessary revisions in the statute." 104 S. Ct. at 2719. Finally, as the legislation "progressed through the legislative process, Congress advanced the effective date chosen so that it would encompass only that retroactive time period that Congress believed would be necessary to accomplish its purpose." Id.
Congress, the Court found, had "legitimate legislative purposes furthered by a rational means" in making some provisions of the MPPAA retroactive; thus its action was constitutional.
Ironically, the Fund, which supported the argument ultimately adopted by the Supreme Court in Gray, now finds itself in the opposite corner. It contends that the facts in Gray are distinguishable from those here because, while Congress gave "in depth" consideration to the reasons for making the MPPAA retroactive, it has failed to undertake a similar consideration in "eliminating" those retroactive provisions in its enactment of the 1984 Act.
To be sure, it does appear that Congress did not give "in depth" consideration to Section 558 of the 1984 Act; but, the Supreme Court did not specify the quantum of the study which must be undertaken. The Court merely observed that the retroactive application of the statute must be supported by a "legitimate legislative purpose furthered by a rational means." 104 S. Ct. at 2718. Indeed, the court in Gray observed that "we have doubts, however, that the retroactive application of the MPPAA would be invalid under the Due Process Clause for lack of notice even if it was suddenly enacted by Congress without any period of deliberate consideration, as often occurs with floor amendments or 'riders' added at the last minute to pending legislation." 104 S. Ct. at 2719 (emphasis this Court's). Those comments in Gray seem to have anticipated the very issue before this Court.
Here, Section 558 was not merely added to the 1984 Act by amendment on the floor. It was considered by a committee of the Senate. See Senate Committee on Finance, 98th Cong., 2nd Sess., Deficit Reduction Act of 1984: Explanation of Provisions Approved by the Committee on March 21, 1984 at 337. The matter was also debated on the House floor by Congressman William L. Clay, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Labor-Management Relations. See 130 Cong. Rec. H 7091-94 (daily ed. June 27, 1984).
The Court concludes that the challenged provisions of the 1984 Act, § 558, pass constitutional muster. Clearly, Congress had a legitimate legislative purpose, namely, to reverse its earlier action making the MPPAA retroactive which it has now determined was unnecessary. Moreover, the method undertaken to accomplish that goal is rational. While there may be those who would quarrel with the wisdom of Congress in taking such action, "judgments about the wisdom of such legislation remain within the exclusive province of the legislative and executive branches." Gray, 104 S. Ct. at 2718. The decision to eliminate the retroactive provisions of the MPPAA seem little more than a congressional reconsideration of an action already upheld by the Supreme Court.
Finally, the Court observes that from the time of its enactment, the MPPAA has been under attack. The constitutionality of those sections which would have retroactive application were upheld only 30 days before the enactment of the 1984 Act which effectively withdrew the retroactive provisions. Thus, it is unlikely that either party has been misled or suffered severe disadvantage. Everyone involved knew of the pending legislation and the pending decision by the Supreme Court.
In sum, this Court concludes that Section 558 of the 1984 Act is constitutional. Having so decided, it follows that Allied's motion for summary judgment must be granted and the Fund's motion for summary judgment must be denied.
An appropriate Order has issued.
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