TRENTON - The president of the state Senate is calling for the federal government to offer states low-interest loans to save their public employee pension systems.

Sen. Steve Sweeney unveiled his plan Wednesday at the State House in Trenton.

He wants Congress to approve loaning about $1 trillion to states, including more than $50 billion for New Jersey.

That would be enough to make up the state's unfunded pension liability. And he says the return on the investment for those funds would be far higher than the 1 percent interest the U.S. would charge.

He says the plan would allow states to save their pension plans and pay for other priorities while repaying the federal government.

Sen. Sweeney says he's trying to sell the idea to state legislative leaders around the country and to Congress.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.