Social Security Update: Association Pushes WEP/GPO Repeal At Summit

MARCH 2006 - As we went to press in early February, Association officers were gearing up for a major legislative summit in Washington DC. With Social Security having ended up on the back burner after the string of natural disasters last fall, the conference is our latest attempt to refocus Congress on the issue.

Public pension officials from across the country converged on Capital Hill for the annual Legislative Conference of the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) in early February. Both the WEP and GPO, along with all other issues relating to public retirement, were on the conference agenda.

Association officials had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the other non-Social Security states, as well as lobby our Congressional delegation to continue their efforts to repeal the WEP and GPO. We plan to run a comprehensive report on the conference in our May 2006 edition of the Voice.

Repeal Bill Gains Support

Legislation, filed by California Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, that would outright repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) continues to gain support in the US House. H.R.147 now has 302 cosponsors, far more than the 218 vote majority required for passage.

In fact, with 302 cosponsors, H.R.147 now has the two-thirds "super majority" needed to override a presidential veto. While 218 votes are needed to force the bill from committee, such an act is only implemented under rare and often extreme circumstances.

As members are aware, all ten Massachusetts Congressmen have signed onto the bill. In the Senate, both Senators Kennedy and Kerry are helping to push a Senate version of the bill (S.619 sponsored by California Senator Feinstein).

According to Association Legislative Chairman Bill Hill, "If not for the war and the hurricanes, we may have seen action on this bill last fall. The key for us now is to keep at it and do not get discouraged, as hard as that may seem at times."