Congress Starts Fast on WEP/GPO Repeal

2007 MAR - New Social Security Chairman Named - Members, affected by Social Security’s WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) or GPO (Government Pension Offset), will be pleased to hear that bills to repeal both laws have not only  been refiled in the Congress, but have already received overwhelming support. On the first day of the current (110th) session, California Congressmen, Democrat Howard Berman and Republican Howard “Buck” McKeon, filed the bipartisan House bill (H.R. 82) to repeal the WEP/GPO outright.

H.R. 82 garnered 140 cosponsors in the House within the first week
of its introduction. At press time, there are 169 and the number
continues to grow.Included in that number are members of the Mass.
Delegation. Members may recall that in previous congressional sessions,
the entire delegation had supported repeal legislation. Attention will
initially be focused on the House Social Security Subcommittee, in
which H.R. 82 is currently pending  for further action.

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has also refiled her bill, which mirrors
its House counterpart in repealing both the GPO and WEP. S 206 has
eight cosponsors, including Maine’s delegation of Susan Collins and
Olympia Snowe. As of press time, both Massachusetts senators are
expected to sign onto the bill.

“While this is encouraging news, we must remember that there is
still a long road ahead and much more work needs to be done,” reminds
Association President Ralph White. “Members, throughout the fifty
states, must urge their congressmen to get behind this repeal.”
New York’s McNulty: New Chair

When the Democrats won the mid-term elections in November, it
was known that a shake-up would soon take place on Capitol Hill. By
mid-January those changes had taken place, with a number of key
appointments taking place that could impact issues of importance to
public retirees.

One such key appointment is the chairman of the powerful Social
Security Subcommittee in the House Ways and Means Committee. In past
sessions, Republican leaders had successfully stalled WEP/GPO Repeal
legislation in that subcommittee, despite overwhelming support to
advance the measure to a floor vote.

In January, US Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Ways and
Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) named New York Congressman Michael
McNulty (D-NY) to chair the House Subcommittee on Social Security.
McNulty, who is serving his tenth term in Congress, is new to the
Social Security Subcommittee.

It is noteworthy that there are several members, from both sides
of the aisle, who are sitting on the subcommittee and represent one of
the states most affected by the WEP and GPO. In fact, six subcommittee
members, almost one-half of the total of thirteen, are from either
California, Ohio and Texas, whose retirees are hurt the same as we are
Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, who is a prominent member of
the Ways and Means Committee and served on the Social Security
Subcommittee in the last session, has been reassigned to chair the
Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures.