GPO/WEP bills filed in new Congress
Representatives Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Howard P. McKeon (R-CA), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) held a well-attended press conference on February 6 to call for repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision. NEA president, Reg Weaver, spoke at the press conference along with NEA member Peg Cagle, who became a math teacher in Los Angeles after 15 years in the private sector. Other speakers included representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
In his remarks, NEA president Weaver called on Congress to act immediately to pass the Social Security Fairness Act, calling it "an issue of fairness, justice, and respect." Peg Cagle spoke eloquently of her reasons for changing careers, and of wanting to make a difference in the lives of her students. She told Congress that the offsets are "unfair to the current work force and seriously compromise the ability of our schools to recruit knowledgeable and passionate mathematicians and scientists to become teachers at a time when they are needed more than ever."
Co-sponsor lists continue to grow
The House version of the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82) now has 222 bipartisan cosponsors; the Senate version (S. 206) has 10 bipartisan cosponsors.
Representatives Berman (D-CA) and McKeon (R-CA) reintroduced the Social Security Fairness Act on January 4. The bill would completely repeal both the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. The new bill number is H.R. 82.
Introducing the bill on the first day of the new Congress signifies the importance of the issue to the sponsors. Interest in the bill is already high, with over 182 Members adding their names as cosponsors.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan M. Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Social Security Fairness Act in the Senate on January 9. The new bill number is S. 206. The Senate bill has 15 cosponsors.
The repeal legislation is a major priority for the MTA and NEA. Both the GPO and the WEP unfairly penalize educators and other public employees in Massachusetts and other states. The WEP causes hard-working people to lose a significant portion of the benefits they earned themselves. Nine out of 10 public employees affected by the GPO lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their husbands or wives paid Social Security taxes for many years.
The following congressmen from Massachusetts are cosponsors of H.R. 82:
Michael E, Capuano
William D. Delahunt
Stephen F. Lynch
Martin T. Meehan
James P. McGovern
John F. Tierney
Congressmen Edward J. Markey and Richard E. Neal have not signed on to H.R. 82. Both have been cosponsors in the past.
Senators Kennedy and Kerry have also been cosponsors in the past. Sen. Kerry is currently cosponsors of S. 206.
Ongoing action needed:
- Thank the members listed above who have cosponsored the bill and remind them that we need them to continue to advocate for movement of this important legislation.
- Urge the members of our delegation to add their names as cosponsors to H.R. 82/S. 206.
Contact information for all legislators may be found at www.massteacher.org/capwiz.