|Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. v. The LTV Corp. (89-390), 496 U.S. 633 (1990)|
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� Justice Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court.
� In this case we must determine whether the decision of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to restore certain pension plans under �LB�4047 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 88 Stat. 1028, as amended, 100 Stat. 237, 29 U.S.C. �LB�1347 (1982 ed., Supp. IV), was, as the Court of Appeals concluded, arbitrary and capricious or contrary to law, within the meaning of �LB�706 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. �LB�706.
�I� Petitioner PBGC is a wholly owned United States Government corporation, see 29 U.S.C. �LB�1302, modeled after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. See 120 Cong. Rec. 29950 (1974) (statement of Sen. Bentsen). The Board of Directors of the PBGC consists of the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Commerce. 29 U.S.C. �LB�1302(d). The PBGC administers and enforces Title IV of ERISA. Title IV includes a mandatory Government insurance program that protects the pension benefits of over 30 million private-sector American workers who participate in plans covered by the Title. [n.1] 1306 and 1307 (1982 ed. and Supp. IV). The insurance program is also financed by statutory liability imposed on employers who terminate underfunded pension plans. Upon termination, the employer becomes liable to the PBGC for the benefits that the PBGC will pay out. [n.2] 1342(a)(4), determined that the Plans should be terminated in order to protect the insurance program from the unreasonable risk of large losses, and commenced termination proceedings in the District Court. With LTV's consent, the Plans were terminated effective January 13, 1987. [n.3] 4047 powers. After consulting the PBGC's Board of Directors, which agreed with the working group that restoration was appropriate, the Executive Director decided to restore the Plans. [n.4]
The Director issued a Notice Of Restoration on September 22, 1987, indicating the PBGC's intent to restore the terminated Plans. The PBGC Notice explained that the restoration decision was based on (1) LTV's establishment of "a retirement program that results in an abuse of the pension plan termination insurance system established by Title IV of ERISA," and (2) LTV's "improved financial circumstances." See App. to Pet. for Cert. 182a. [n.5] Restoration meant that the Plans were ongoing, and that LTV again would be responsible for administering and funding them.
LTV refused to comply with the restoration decision. This prompted the PBGC to initiate an enforcement action in the District Court. [n.6] 4047, under which the PBGC is operating in this case. This section gives the PBGC the power to restore terminated plans in any case in which the PBGC determines such action to be "appropriate and consistent with its duties under this title, [i.e., Title IV of ERISA]" (emphasis added). The statute does not direct the PBGC to make restoration decisions that further the "public interest" generally, but rather empowers the agency to restore when restoration would further the interests that Title IV of ERISA is designed to protect. Given this specific and unambiguous statutory mandate, we do not think that the PBGC did or could focus "inordinately" on ERISA in making its restoration decision.
Even if Congress' directive to the PBGC had not been so clear, we are not entirely sure that the Court of Appeals' holding makes good sense as a general principle of administrative law. The PBGC points up problems that would arise if federal courts routinely were to require each agency to take explicit account of public policies that derive from federal statutes other than the agency's enabling act. To begin with, there are numerous federal statutes that could be said to embody countless policies. If agency action may be disturbed whenever a reviewing court is able to point to an arguably relevant statutory policy that was not explicitly considered, then a very large number of agency decisions might be open to judicial invalidation.
The Court of Appeals' directive that the PBGC give effect to the "policies and goals" of other statutes, apart from what those statutes actually provide, [n.7] 1302(a)(3). In short, the PBGC's construction based upon its conclusion that the existence of follow-on plans will lead to more plan terminations and increased PBGC liabilities is "assuredly a permissible one." Everhart, � U.S., at � (Slip op. 9). Indeed, the judgments about the way the real world works that have gone into the PBGC's anti-follow-on policy are precisely the kind that agencies are better equipped to make than are courts. [n.8] This practical agency expertise is one of the principal justifications behind Chevron deference. See 467 U.S., at 865.
None of this is to say that financial improvement will never be relevant to a restoration decision. Indeed, if an employer's financial situation remains so dire that restoration would lead inevitably to immediate retermination, the PBGC may decide not to restore a terminated plan even where the employer has instituted a follow-on plan. [n.9] For present purposes, however, it is enough for us to decide that where, as here, there is no suggestion that immediate retermination of the plans will be necessary, [n.10] it is rational for the PBGC to disfavor follow-on plans. [n.11] 4047. Finally, we find the procedures employed by the PBGC to be consistent with the APA. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.