Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, expressed frustration with the news that the House Committee on Ways and Means would be marking up H.R. 82, the “Social Security Fairness Act,” tomorrow morning.
“Usually, a committee mark-up is a good thing—it’s what you want to happen, but in this case, the committee’s decision has complicated the way forward on this bill and will potentially cost us time we may not have as this Congress draws to a close,” Yoes explained. “The bill was to be placed on the Consensus Calendar and brought to the floor automatically this month, but that won’t happen now.”
The FOP worked throughout this Congress to earn floor consideration of the legislation, which would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision, using House Rule XVII. This rule allows for floor consideration for any unreported bill that has more than 290 cosponsors for a total of twenty-five legislative days using the Consensus Calendar. The “Social Security Fairness Act” was due to be added to the Consensus Calendar this week, meaning the bill would have gotten a vote in the House this month before the midterm elections.
“The ‘Social Security Fairness Act’ has been one of the most bipartisan and broadly supported pieces of legislation in the House, under both Democratic and Republican control,” Yoes said. “While we welcome tomorrow’s mark-up, we do wish the committee had acted sooner or allowed it to be considered using the Consensus Calendar rule.”
Today’s committee action does not mean that the “Social Security Fairness Act” will not be voted on in the House, but it does make the process more difficult and disrupts the timing. If the bill is favorably reported tomorrow, House leadership could bring the bill to the floor for a vote, but they are unlikely to do so before the midterm elections. Even if it passes the House after the elections, there would be little to no time to get the measure a vote in the Senate. If the bill is voted down or amended, the effort is most likely over for the 117th Congress.
“I share the frustration of our members,” Yoes said. “We came so far, and it feels like the goalposts were moved just before we would have gotten the bill over the line. Our members can, however, rest assured that we will not stop fighting for this bill until the final gavel falls in this Congress!”