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CHERYL GLASER: Looks like Congressional negotiators may be closing in on an agreement to overhaul the US private pension system. The deal would close loopholes that have let employers underfund pensions by almost $450 billion. But as Sarah Gardner reports, that's gonna cost companies real cash and they want something in return.

SARAH GARDNER: 44 million Americans still get traditional corporate pensions at retirement, but fewer employers are offering them. Some companies have even declared bankruptcy to shed the obligation.

Lawmakers now say they're on the verge of a deal that would force employers still in the game to more fully fund their pension plans.

Aliya Wong is pension policy director for the US Chamber of Commerce.

She says if Congress is going to change the rules, companies want predictability. That includes a fixed formula for determining just how much a company must invest in its pension fund each year.

ALIYA WONG:"There's debate about what that should be. But the overriding concern for employers is that there be certainty and that they be able to know exactly what their expenditures will be and not have to revisit this situation every two years."

Congress may vote on a pension reform package as early as next week.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner