WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House approved an ambitious overhaul of the nation's pension laws late Friday, hoping to prolong the traditional employer-based pension plans relied upon by millions while also promoting new savings options and protecting the government from future taxpayer bailouts.

The reforms in the bill ``represent the most sweeping changes to America's pension laws in more than 30 years,'' said House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

He said the bill ``will ensure that workers and retirees can continue to count on their hard-earned pension benefits.''

The 279-131 vote came only hours before the House was expected top begin a five-week summer break.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, which is expected to take it up next week before it departs for its August recess, sending it to the president for his signature.