Joins Kerry & Mass. Delegation On Key Issue

JULY 2012 VOICE: U.S. Senator Scott Brown has joined his Massachusetts colleague, Senator John Kerry, in support of federal legislation that would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

The bill, S2010, was filed in late 2011 by Kerry and Maine Senator Susan Collins. It now has 15 additional cosponsors including Brown, whose backing is seen as rounding out support amongst moderate Republican Senators. In addition to Collins and Brown, Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski are also cosponsors.

Nevada Senator Dean Heller is also counted as a cosponsor, being the only Senator among the GOP’s conservative wing to support S2010. However, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the most senior ranking female Republican Senator, has expressed her support for repeal of both offset laws.

Like Massachusetts, Texas public employees also do not participate in Social Security and are affected by the WEP and/or GPO once they retire. Large numbers of public employees in Alaska, Maine and Nevada are also impacted.
In fact Maine has proven to be a politically important advocate for change, with both Senators Collins and Snowe helping to lead a national campaign to repeal both laws. Advocates had feared that the retirement of Senator Snowe, who is a leading moderate within the Republican Caucus, would serve as a setback to our repeal efforts.

However, the support of Senator Brown is now seen as a step toward filling the void left by Snowe, as well as Democrats such as Congressman Barney Frank, who is also retiring at the end of 2012.

“I know some members were rightfully concerned when Scott Brown did not immediately jump onto S2010. From the time we spent working with him in the State House, we knew that he likes to examine an issue and get all of the facts before committing. I can respect that,” said Association President Ralph White. “We were confident that the Senator would support WEP/GPO repeal once he had all of the facts and he has not let us down. We’re pleased that he’s joined Senator Kerry and our entire federal delegation on this issue.

“Shawn Duhamel (Association Legislative Liaison) has been granted an open door to meet with our federal officials. He was in Scott Brown’s office earlier this year and had a very productive meeting with John Kerry’s staff.

“Given the national political scene we know that WEP/GPO are not going to be resolved this year. That said, my biggest concern has been the voices that we are losing on this issue. Barney Frank has been a dogged advocate over the years, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more dedicated than Olympia Snowe has been. My hope is that Scott Brown can help fill that void and join Susan Collins as a voice of reason within his caucus.”

All told, ten Democrats, five Republicans and one Independent have joined Kerry in supporting S2010. But, given that a 60-vote majority is needed in order to break a Senate filibuster, the seventeen Senate supporters of S2010 are far fewer than what is required for the law to be passed at this time.