US HOUSE HOLDS KEY HEARING ON WEP/GPO

MARCH 2008: Following through on his commitment to fully examine the potential repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), US Congressman Michael McNulty (D-NY) chaired a key January hearing that put the spotlight on Social Security reform for public retirees.

Held in an ornate congressional hearing room on Capital Hill, the January hearing, before the House Subcommittee on Social Security, featured nine separate speakers, each providing their personal account and insight as to how the WEP/GPO are harming public retirees. The Association submitted testimony to the Subcommittee, calling for the outright repeal of these laws.

The hearing is the first official action on the issue taken by the Democrat control ledCongress, since taking power in January 2007. Last year, Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, wrote to McNulty in support of a WEP/GPO hearing. Members impacted by the two laws were optimistic by the sign of support from a high-ranking member of the House leadership.

While bipartisan support for H.R. 82 continues to grow with 336 cosponsors now signing on, which is nearly 3/4 of the membership of the US House, the bill has remained locked in committee so far this session.

"Support for a WEP/GPO Repeal is growing within the Congress; there is no question about it. Our members, both in Massachusetts and around the country, continue to do a great job of making Social Security a grassroots issue," said Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel, who is the Association’s point man in Washington. "We are working closely with our Washington lobbyists and participating fully in several national coalitions. Progress is being made, albeit slower than we would like to see."

In late January, the Association took part in a Washington meeting of the Coalition to Preserve Retirement Equity (CARE), a group headed by the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. Over fifty different national organizations are represented through CARE, including our Association that has been a coalition member for almost ten years. Members should look to the upcoming May edition of the Voice for an in-depth report on this meeting and our ongoing efforts in Washington.

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