Action Alert # 86 – August Action!

  • Status of H.R.711, the Brady bill
  • What to say to your Congress Person now
  • Send a message to the Presidential candidates

—-> Kevin Brady, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee decided to table his bill, HR 711, at their meeting just before the recess because of disagreements among the groups affected by the bill. Some groups are not willing to support it as written and would like to offer amendments to fix what they see as insurmountable problems. Here are two of the amendments that have been offered that are supported by the National Education Association:

  • Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) amendment that would exempt people without a vested right to a public pension from the new WEP formula. Since there has been an interpretation that anyone who has ever worked for a non-SS-participating agency, even for a short time, would become penalized.
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) amendment that would exempt people who work in a Social-Security covered job for 30 or more years from the new WEP formula, maintaining their exemption from the offset.

These amendments would improve the bill, however, they also make it less likely that it would pass because the changes would increase the cost.  There are also disagreements about how much the new formula would actually save those affected.  This sounds like standard Congressional negotiating….  We must continue to ask our representatives to support the bill, demand that it be heard, and to press for the amendments. We always insist, of course, that total repeal is the only completely fair solution. At the very least, H.R. 711 highlights the fact that the current WEP formula is wrong, and they need to fix it!

—-> Members of Congress are home until September 6, looking for your votes. After working in D.C. four weeks in September, they will be back in their Districts all of October and the first week of November, campaigning before the election. Set up a meeting and talk to them. Show up when they have a town hall meeting and state your case. Most people listening to you in a public meeting will be on your side, but there are those that think that since the government “gave” you a pension, you shouldn’t be complaining. You worked for and also paid into your pension!

  • Be sure to mention that the Social Security Administration never told you before you retired that you would not be getting what your statement said you would. Congress didn’t require employers to tell new hires that they would be affected by the offsets until 2005 (this problem seemed to get the attention of some on the W & M Committee).
  • Schools are starting these next weeks, and many districts can’t find enough teachers. One third of this country’s teachers are in states affected by the offsets. New teachers have to sign a paper saying that they understand that they may be affected by the GPO or WEP. Not a way to attract good teachers!
  • You were penalized when your government job didn’t include earning Social Security, even though you were paying into and getting a pension. Then you were penalized again when you retired: they cut what you had fully earned in other work.
  • See “Our Case” on our website for other ideas, both the PowerPoint, which you can click through and/or share, and the written statement.

—-> Obama pledged that he would sign a total repeal bill if it came to his desk. That, of course, hasn’t happened. Let’s see what we can do to get the current candidates to state their positions on repeal.  Hillary Clinton signed onto at least one of the repeal bills while she was a senator, according to one of our members, and she has talked about providing better retirement compensation for people who have been out of the workplace to raise children and care for others, so she should be amenable to repealing the GPO, at least.  Donald Trump has made some conflicting statements about Social Security, however, it won’t hurt him to know about our situation.  Here are the comment boxes from their websites.

Thank you for sticking with us as we keep insisting on our rightful earnings!  We gain strength from each other!