Ohio Now Key To Social Security WEP/GPO Reform

Ohio Now Key To Social Security WEP/GPO Reform

GOP Speaker Hails From Non Social Security State

JANUARY 2011 VOICE: The shift in power in the US House of Representatives could prove to be a mixed bag for those hoping for swift action on the Social Security Windfall (WEP) and Offset (GPO) reform bills.

Had Democrats maintained their majority in the House, several Massachusetts congressmen were poised to chair key congressional committees in the 112th Congress. Instead, Springfield's Richie Neal and Worcester's Jim McGovern will serve as ranking minority members of the Ways and Means and Rules committees respectively.

With Neal, McGovern and Barney Frank among the top advocates for WEP/GPO reform, hopes were high that a reform bill would be on the congressional agenda in 2011.

At first blush, the Republican Party's return to power in the House may seem like a setback. However, as we have frequently stated, WEP and GPO reform are not partisan issues. Republican officials from non Social Security states are as eager to act on WEP/GPO as their Democratic colleagues from Massachusetts.

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner represents the Cincinnati area of Ohio, which is home to a large number of public retirees. Like Massachusetts, Ohio is also a non Social Security state and its retirees are also subject to the WEP/GPO.

Ohio retirees and active employee unions already play a key role in two of the national coalitions to which the Association belongs. Both the Coalition to Preserve Retirement Security (CPRS) and the Coalition to Assure Retirement Equity (CARE) have long fought for the full repeal of WEP/GPO, along with remaining outside the Social Security system.

In addition to Boehner, several leading Republican members of Congress are at the forefront of WEP/GPO reform. For instance, Texas Congressman Kevin Brady, now a ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee and possibly the chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, is a leading advocate within his party for action to take place on WEP/GPO.

"Right now, it is far too early to know what the Republican game plan for the 112th Congress is going to be. Things will begin to take shape once the Debt Commission makes its report in December, followed by the new congress taking power in January," said Association Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel.

"Again, we have never viewed WEP/GPO as partisan issues. With the speaker and ranking members of leadership representing non Social Security states, we hope that this issue will finally get the attention it deserves."