The 110th Congress will begin January 4, 2007
Respect Public Service:
Repeal Social Security Offsets
Update on NEA's Campaign To Eliminate GPO/WEP
December 18, 2006
The Latest News:
The 110th Congress will begin January 4, 2007, with the change in leadership offering a real opportunity to make progress toward repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision. The following is a summary of expected activity in the early months of the 110th Congress:
January 4, 2007: Re-Introduction of the Social Security Fairness Act. The four primary sponsors of the Social Security Fairness Act — Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Collins (R-ME), Representative Berman (D-CA), and Representative McKeon (R-CA) — remain committed to the legislation (which would completely repeal both the GPO and WEP) and to bipartisan efforts to secure passage. They plan to re-introduce the House and Senate bills on the first day of the 110th Congress (January 4, 2007) to signify the importance of the issue.
Mid-January: Press Event. The four bill sponsors have expressed interest in holding a press conference in mid-January with NEA and other unions whose members are impacted by the offsets to bring attention to the issue on Capitol Hill, in the media, and among the general public.
CALL TO ACTION — JANUARY 8-12, 2007. NEA will conduct a series of Nationwide Calls to Action, beginning the first full week of the new congressional session, to call attention to the re-introduced Social Security Fairness Act and urge Members of Congress to cosponsor the bills. The first Call to Action will take place the week of January 8, 2007, with the goal of rebuilding the cosponsor lists as quickly as possible. NEA will notify activists of the new bill numbers for the Social Security Fairness Act as soon as the House and Senate bills are reintroduced.
Additional Calls to Action will be announced in the coming months with specific goals, such as pushing for committee action (“mark-up”) of the Social Security Act.
We Need Your Help! Join the Call to Action
Call to Action Checklist:
- Contact new Members of Congress to educate them about the offsets. E-mail the Member and call the district office to explain the impact of the offsets on you, your colleagues, and/or the education profession. Urge new Members to cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act (bill number to be provided as soon as available).
- E-mail/call returning Members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act. Focus particularly on those Members who cosponsored the bill in the 109th Congress .
- Ask your Governor to write a letter to Congress and your state legislature to pass a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the GPO and WEP.
- Get your school board and principal involved. Explain how the offsets are hindering recruitment of talented educators.
- Organize a rally to send a clear message about the unfair GPO and WEP.
- Host a town hall meeting with a wide cross section of public employees.
- Organize a call-in day . Call the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121 and ask for your Representative and Senators by name.
- Deliver postcards to Members of Congress in their local offices.
- Go to http://www.nea.org/lac/socsec/offsets.html and send an e-mail message to Congress; ask friends, family, and co-workers to do the same.
- Submit aletter to the editor or an op-ed to your local newspaper.
- Reach out to police, firefighters, and other impacted groups in your area to form a coalition in support of repeal.
Other NEA Activities. In addition to boosting cosponsor lists, NEA will focus on the following activities in the early months of the 110th Congress:
- Recruitment of Champions on Key Committees. The new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security, is Charlie Rangel (D-NY), a cosponsor of the Social Security Fairness Act in the 109th Congress. The chair of the Social Security Subcommittee has not yet been appointed. There are also a number of Members from impacted states serving on the Ways and Means Committee. In the Senate, the new chair of the Finance Committee is Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). Senator Baucus has not previously cosponsored the repeal legislation. NEA will be seeking Members on both the House and Senate committees to act as champions for the issue, advocating in committee for movement of the legislation.
- Coalition Work. NEA is a member of the Coalition to Assure Retirement Security (CARE). CARE members are working on putting together a joint website on the offsets, featuring information from a number of organizations. CARE members are also compiling a database of stories from impacted individuals sorted by congressional district.
- National Lobby Day. NEA will convene a National Lobby Day to Repeal Social Security Offsets at the appropriate time, possibly in the spring of 2007.
- Identification of Potential Vehicles. NEA will work with congressional staff to identify appropriate legislative vehicles to which the Social Security Fairness Act could be attached. For example, in addition to any comprehensive Social Security legislation under consideration, offset repeal language could be attached to any bill attempting to address teacher recruitment or attract members of the private sector to the profession.
- Push for Mark-Up and Floor Debate. NEA’s message to Congress for the 110th Congress will be simple: We have had enough hearings, now we need actual movement of the bill. We will be pushing for committee mark-up of the Social Security Fairness Act and movement to the floor for consideration.