WASHINGTON — House Ways and Means Committee panel members, researchers, and muni market participants debated the merits and faults of a public-pension disclosure bill Thursday at a hearing that also focused on tax-exempt financing and pension obligation bonds.

At the hearing, which was held by the oversight subcommittee, Republican lawmakers, a state treasurer and a researcher worried about the soaring unfunded liabilities of state and local government pension plans, saying they might cause severe financial distress for states, leading them to ask for federal bailouts. They asserted that public pension disclosures are not as forthcoming as corporate pensions and that state and local government pensions are relying on overly optimistic returns on the investment of pension assets.

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