Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House committee holds second hearing on WEP and GPO repeal

On April 16, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO).

These two provisions are parts of Social Security law that unfairly reduce— or sometimes eliminate—the Social Security benefits of public employees, including letter carriers, who have earned pension benefits from public employee pension plans such as the Civil Service Retirement System. The Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82/ S. 597), a priority bill for NALC, would repeal the WEP/GPO. The bill has 318 co-sponsors in the House and 53 in the Senate.

The hearing included testimony from four witnesses: Jason Fichtner, chief economist, Bipartisan Policy Center; Rachel Greszler, visting fellow in workforce, Economic Policy Innovation Center; Nancy Altman, president, Social Security Works; Charles Blahous, who is the J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Chair, senior research strategist, Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

In his opening statement, Chairman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) acknowledged that the WEP and GPO “were intended to make Social Security more fair, but for millions of Americans, they have fallen far short.”

Ranking Member John Larson (D-CT) also expressed his support for repealing the WEP and GPO, calling the provisions “blatantly unfair,” and also emphasized his support for a broader legislative package to improve Social Security’s solvency.

At the hearing, witnesses offered several opinions on reforming or repealing WEP/GPO, as well as methods to improve Social Security’s solvency. While several approaches were mentioned, NALC fully supports H.R. 82/S.597, which repeals both WEP and GPO.

Many members referenced the unfair burden these provisions impose on public service workers and their spouses.

The hearing followed a field hearing in Baton Rouge, LA, in November. The Louisiana hearing featured witnesses affected by the WEP and GPO, including a police officer, a retired state employee, a firefighter and a teacher.

The next step is for the bill to be marked up by the House Committee on Ways and Means. NALC strongly urges the committee to mark up the bill and send it to the floor for a House vote.

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