Powerful House Chair Calls For Hearing

Sept 2007 - Spells Out Need - In sharp contrast to the position taken in the U.S. Senate, where a 2007 hearing on Social Security has been all but ruled out, leaders in the House of Representatives are not shying away from addressing the dreaded Social Security offset laws.

Advancing the prospect of full hearings in the House on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) is House Ways and Chairman Charles Rangel. The powerful New York Democrat has publicly called for hearings to take place, during the current Congressional session, on the issue.

Sept 2007 - Spells Out Need - In sharp contrast to the position taken in the U.S. Senate, where a 2007 hearing on Social Security has been all but ruled out, leaders in the House of Representatives are not shying away from addressing the dreaded Social Security offset laws.

Advancing the prospect of full hearings in the House on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) is House Ways and Chairman Charles Rangel. The powerful New York Democrat has publicly called for hearings to take place, during the current Congressional session, on the issue.With 322 House members  now cosponsoring H.R. 82, which fully repeals the WEP/GPO, Rangel's support of hearings may come as no surprise; nonetheless, it's an important positive sign.  In his letter, Rangel calls on the House Subcommittee on Social Security, chaired by fellow New York Democrat Michael McNulty, to schedule a new round of hearings.

Chairman Rangel outlines the need to fully address this problem. "Moreover, the GPO and the WEP are widely acknowledged to be Ôblunt instruments.' That is, they can produce undesirable, unpredictable, and inequitable results that vary based on the individual circumstances of workers and their families. Finally, they often leave workers with less than they had anticipated in retirement Ð and can even leave people with too little to make ends meet."

McNulty's hearing would be the first on the issue of WEP/GPO relief since the Democrats regained control of Congress last year. Several hearings did take place under previous Republican chairmen, but little resulted.

"A hearing now is vital to the future success of this issue. Attention must continue to be brought to the injustice which is the WEP/GPO and we are glad that someone of Charlie Rangel's stature gets it," said Association President Ralph White. "This may not be a sexy headline grabbing issue, but it is one of great importance to those losing thousands of dollars a year in benefits that they earned over a lifetime."

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