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Social Security Issues in the 110 th Congress NCPERS2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Security Issues in the 110 th Congress NCPERS2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Security Issues in the 110 th Congress NCPERS2007

2 CONTEXT

3 3 Party Party Change Republicans Democrats50446 Other110 United States Senate

4 4 House of Representatives Party Party Change Republicans Democrats Other01

5 5 New Congressional Leadership Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

6 6 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)

7 7 Previous Chair: Charles Grassley (R-IA) Previous Chair: Charles Grassley (R-IA) New Chair: Max Baucus (D-MT) New Chair: Max Baucus (D-MT) SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE

8 8 Previous Chair: Bill Thomas (R-CA) Previous Chair: Bill Thomas (R-CA) New Chair: Charlie Rangel (D- NY) New Chair: Charlie Rangel (D- NY) HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE

9 9 SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSETS

10 10 What is the Government Pension Offset?

11 11 Reduces some public employees’ Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of their public pension. Reduces some public employees’ Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of their public pension.

12 12 WHOM DOES IT AFFECT? Any public employee who does not pay into Social Security but whose spouse does/did. Any public employee who does not pay into Social Security but whose spouse does/did. public employee expects survivor benefits based on deceased spouse’s earnings. public employee expects survivor benefits based on deceased spouse’s earnings.

13 13 What is the Windfall Elimination Provision?

14 14 Changes Social Security formula to reduce EARNED benefits of persons with a public pension. Changes Social Security formula to reduce EARNED benefits of persons with a public pension. Some employees lose up to $340 per month (maximum reduction for 2007) in Social Security. Some employees lose up to $340 per month (maximum reduction for 2007) in Social Security.

15 15 WHOM DOES IT AFFECT? Public employees receiving pension from job not covered by Social Security. Public employees receiving pension from job not covered by Social Security. Affects benefits from: Affects benefits from: Earnings in prior career; Earnings in prior career; Earnings in a non-offset state; Earnings in a non-offset state; Earnings from part-time or summer jobs. Earnings from part-time or summer jobs.

16 16 NEA worked to get re-introduced in House (H.R. 82) and Senate (S. 206) in first few days of the 110 th Congress. NEA worked to get re-introduced in House (H.R. 82) and Senate (S. 206) in first few days of the 110 th Congress. In last Congress, record numbers of Members of Congress cosponsored. In last Congress, record numbers of Members of Congress cosponsored. Need to rebuild cosponsor lists in the 110th Congress! Need to rebuild cosponsor lists in the 110th Congress! The Solution: Social Security Fairness Act

17 17 What Would the Bill Do? Completely repeal GPO and WEP. Completely repeal GPO and WEP. Anyone currently impacted would be helped prospectively. Anyone currently impacted would be helped prospectively. Not retroactive to cover benefits already lost. Not retroactive to cover benefits already lost.

18 18 Why is it Taking So Long??? Legislation takes on average 7-8 years to move through Congress. Legislation takes on average 7-8 years to move through Congress. Opposition from previous congressional leaders: Opposition from previous congressional leaders: Cost (ten year cost of full repeal is over $60 billion) Cost (ten year cost of full repeal is over $60 billion) Philosophical disagreement (“double dipping”) Philosophical disagreement (“double dipping”)

19 19 New Opportunities? New congressional leadership offers new opportunities. New congressional leadership offers new opportunities. New committee chairs with jurisdiction: New committee chairs with jurisdiction: House Ways and Means – Charlie Rangel (D-NY), cosponsored repeal bill last year. House Ways and Means – Charlie Rangel (D-NY), cosponsored repeal bill last year. Senate Finance – Max Baucus (D-MT) – not a cosponsor in the past. Senate Finance – Max Baucus (D-MT) – not a cosponsor in the past.

20 20 Will still have obstacles: Will still have obstacles: Cost continues to be an issue Cost continues to be an issue Congress may continue to push issue off until they address larger Social Security reform Congress may continue to push issue off until they address larger Social Security reform

21 21 Campaign to Repeal the Offsets

22 22 COALITION TO ASSURE RETIREMENT EQUITY (CARE) NEA is a member, along with other unions, firefighters, police, etc. NEA is a member, along with other unions, firefighters, police, etc. Working together to target Members of Congress, activate grassroots, and conduct other activities in support of repeal. Working together to target Members of Congress, activate grassroots, and conduct other activities in support of repeal.

23 23 What Can You Do? Contact all Members of Congress: Contact all Members of Congress: Explain impact of offsets on you, your colleagues, your profession. Explain impact of offsets on you, your colleagues, your profession. Thank cosponsors of House and Senate bills; urge all other Members to cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82/S.206). Thank cosponsors of House and Senate bills; urge all other Members to cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82/S.206).

24 24 Ask Governor to write Congress and state legislature to pass a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the GPO and WEP. Ask Governor to write Congress and state legislature to pass a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the GPO and WEP. Organize a call-in day. Organize a call-in day. Deliver postcards to Members of Congress in their local offices. Deliver postcards to Members of Congress in their local offices. Go to NEA website or website of your organization and send an message to Congress; ask friends, family, and co- workers to do the same. Go to NEA website or website of your organization and send an message to Congress; ask friends, family, and co- workers to do the same.

25 25 Reach out to other impacted groups in your area. Reach out to other impacted groups in your area. Organize a rally. Organize a rally. Host a town hall meeting with a wide cross section of public employees. Host a town hall meeting with a wide cross section of public employees. Submit a letter to the editor or an op- ed to your local newspaper. Submit a letter to the editor or an op- ed to your local newspaper.

26 26 Talking Points GPO and WEP take away benefits folks have EARNED by working for many years. GPO and WEP take away benefits folks have EARNED by working for many years. This is a national problem --there are affected people in all states. This is a national problem --there are affected people in all states.

27 27 Economic Impact: Loss of income forces some people into poverty and onto expensive government programs like food stamps. Loss of income forces some people into poverty and onto expensive government programs like food stamps. Impacted people have less $ to spend -- hurts local economies. Impacted people have less $ to spend -- hurts local economies.

28 28 IMPACT ON THE PUBLIC SECTOR: IMPACT ON THE PUBLIC SECTOR: GPO and WEP discourage people from entering/staying in public sector professions. GPO and WEP discourage people from entering/staying in public sector professions. If Congress wants to encourage people moving from private sector into public service, they must address the offsets! If Congress wants to encourage people moving from private sector into public service, they must address the offsets! These issues are important to voters!! These issues are important to voters!!

29 29 Remember: The Battle is Not Over!!! We Must Keep Fighting!!

30 30 PRIVATIZATION

31 31 A Little History At start of 109 th Congress, Social Security was on the front-burner. At start of 109 th Congress, Social Security was on the front-burner. President was pushing privatization and the issue appeared on the fast track. President was pushing privatization and the issue appeared on the fast track.

32 32 Where Are We Now? VICTORY!!! Strong opposition from a broad coalition of groups stopped privatization proposals from moving. Social Security moved to the back-burner. VICTORY!!! Strong opposition from a broad coalition of groups stopped privatization proposals from moving. Social Security moved to the back-burner.

33 33 Outlook for 110 th Congress Unclear if/when Social Security will be on agenda. Unclear if/when Social Security will be on agenda. Democrats in charge oppose privatization. Democrats in charge oppose privatization. Dems.’ priorities for “1 st 100 hours” included “fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security.” Dems.’ priorities for “1 st 100 hours” included “fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security.”

34 34 CONTINUE TO OPPOSE ANY PRIVATIZATION!! Would jeopardize secure retirement of many Americans. Would jeopardize secure retirement of many Americans. Cost could reach over $1 trillion in ten years. Cost could reach over $1 trillion in ten years. Would subject financial security to unpredictable ups and downs of the market. Would subject financial security to unpredictable ups and downs of the market.

35 35 Mandatory Coverage

36 36 The Issue Some reform proponents suggest requiring Social Security participation for all public employees. Some reform proponents suggest requiring Social Security participation for all public employees. This is a bad idea: This is a bad idea: Would weaken state and local plans. Would weaken state and local plans. Increase state and local financial burdens. Increase state and local financial burdens. Won’t solve Social Security’s financial concerns. Won’t solve Social Security’s financial concerns.

37 37 Mandatory Coverage: Status Strong bipartisan coalition in Congress opposed to mandatory coverage. Strong bipartisan coalition in Congress opposed to mandatory coverage. Issue off table until Social Security reform resurfaces. Issue off table until Social Security reform resurfaces.

38 38 QUESTIONS ? ? ? ?


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