Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, expressed skepticism about the news that H.R. 82, the “Social Security Fairness Act,” was favorably reported without recommendation by the House Ways and Means Committee this morning on a voice vote.
“Our top legislative priority was passed by the committee and while might seem to be cause for celebration. the Members of the Ways and Means Committee made very clear this morning that they held this vote to block our bill from being considered on the House floor and have no intention of bringing H.R. 82 as passed to a floor vote,” Yoes said.
The sponsors of the bill, Representatives Rodney L. Davis (R-IL) and Abigail A. Spanberger (D-VA), along with the FOP and many other organizations representing public employees, decided very early on in this Congress that we would attempt to get the bill to the floor using Rule XVII. This House rule, which was developed by the Problem Solvers’ Caucus, allows for floor consideration for any unreported bills that have more than 290 cosponsors for a total of twenty-five legislative days using the Consensus Calendar. The Committee marked-up the bill today intentionally to block the bill from being voted on under the rule.
“I find it very frustrating that a rule developed by the Problem Solvers’ Caucus—a caucus dedicated to improving the performance of the House and making sure widely supported bills are not blocked by a committee—was subsequently blocked by the committee,” Yoes said. “Committee Members said today they were ‘close’ to a final deal, but they have been making that claim for a decade or more.”
While this does mean that the bill is pending before the House, it cannot be added to the Consensus Calendar and will not be automatically brought to the floor. Our recourse at this time is to bring to bear as much pressure as we can on House leadership to schedule the bill for floor action. However, from remarks made by Members of the Ways and Means Committee during the hearing, the mark-up and passage of H.R. 82 was simply to “buy time” for Members to reach consensus on a larger Social Security reform measure—not to vote on H.R. 82 as reported. The FOP will remain engaged with the bill’s sponsors to give us the best chance to pass the House on its own or as part of a larger package, but time is running out and floor action is now unlikely.
“Despite today’s setback, the fight to repeal the WEP and GPO is not over,” Yoes said. “We will be continuing our advocacy efforts here in Washington D.C. this Congress and the next one, and the one after that if necessary. This issue is too important to our members to give up.”