Senator Kerry Backs Away From Hearing

Sept 2007 - Waits for Overhaul - Although Senator John Kerry co-sponsored bills that would permanently repeal both the WEP and GPO, which we reported in the July issue of the Voice, it now appears that the Senator would rather address the legislation within the context of an overhaul to the Social Security System.
As chairman of the Senate's Subcommittee on Social Security, we, along
with many of our members, had asked the Senator to schedule a WEP-GPO
In a reply to our request, Senator Kerry said:
"During this Congress and in the past, I have cosponsored bills that
would permanently repeal both the GPO and WEP. I am currently a
co-sponsor of S.206, Social Security Fairness Act of 2007, which
Senator Feinstein introduced. I will continue to support partial relief
measures to help people adversely affected by the GPO and WEP in the
hope that such a bill would pass in the Senate.
"In addition, for your suggestion of a hearing on S.206. I personally
believe that the best way to address this legislation is in the context
of an overhaul to the Social Security Program. I fear a hearing on this
issue has the potential to reopen the debate on private accounts and
actually move us backwards in terms of finding a solution."
Needless to say, this is not the answer we wanted. In fact, we are very
disappointed with Senator Kerry's reply. Social Security recipients
just want equal benefits. It's as simple as that. Pay our members what
they're entitled to receive and throw out these laws.
There will be no debate on private accounts, a whim of President Bush,
which never got off the ground. There is no support for private
accounts within the Democratic leadership, the party that is now in
control. And, many Republican leaders have backed away from the private
account scenario.
Based on Senator Kerry's letter, we can draw no other conclusion other
than he is not in favor of calling a hearing on the WEP and GPO, the
two laws that are so devastating to many of our members.
Therefore, we will focus on the House, where the leadership has
indicated a willingness to give our members and their Congressmen an
opportunity to be heard. We just can't sit back and wait for Social
Security's overhaul, which may or may not happen for many years.