Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, joined Representatives Garret N. Graves (R-LA), Abigail A. Spanberger (D-VA), and organizations representing tens of thousands of Americans who are negatively impacted by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) outside the U.S. Capitol today.
Representatives Graves and Spanberger are the sponsors of H.R. 82, the “Social Security Fairness Act,” which would repeal the WEP and GPO in current law, putting thousands of dollars back into the pockets of public employees. At this afternoon’s press conference, they announced the bill now has 290 cosponsors, making it the third most cosponsored bill in the House. Reaching 290 cosponsors means the bill’s sponsors have the option of moving the legislation to the House floor using a special rule or—which was the case last year—the Committee on Ways and Means will have to consider it.
“Keeping what you earn is only fair,’” Yoes said. “Fairness is a concept that our society treasures and something that we, as law enforcement officers, value highly. I am so proud to be here with Representatives Graves and Spanberger, as well as the other Members with us in the House and here today who have worked so long and so hard to advance the cause of Social Security fairness for our country’s public employees.”
“Last year at this time, we had more than 300 cosponsors, and after the committee reported the bill, we simply ran out of time,” Yoes said. “Today we are a year ahead of where we were last Congress, so the momentum on this issue is definitely on our side and the side of every police officer who has the Social Security benefit they earned cut by these unfair provisions.”
This legislation is a top legislative priority for the FOP, which waged an intense campaign to achieve this legislative milestone. The WEP affects workers who spent some time in jobs not covered by Social Security and who also worked other jobs where they paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify for retirement benefits. Like the WEP, the GPO may reduce the benefit received by surviving spouses if these spouses also receive a surviving spousal benefit from a public pension.
“The WEP and GPO provisions do not eliminate a windfall for workers. It is a loss of the benefits they earned and are denied because they also served the public and have a pension from that work. That’s not right and it’s not fair,” Yoes said. “Passing the ‘Social Security Fairness Act’ would make a real difference in the lives of our nation’s retired public servants.”