As I travel around our country meeting and speaking with our members, there is one common refrain: when will the FOP succeed in repealing the Windfall Elimination (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO)? Brothers and sisters, we have heard you and we have potentially good news!
The repeal for WEP and GPO has been a top legislative priority since 1997. We’ve had years in which we’ve had good support and the potential for committee action and years when we did not. I am happy to report to you that we have a historic high in terms of support for the House bill, H.R. 141. At this writing – which is before the conclusion of the Day on the Hill—we have 238 cosponsors, more than a House majority and just a little short from the 290 cosponsors which, under House rules, would force the bill to a floor vote.
Since last spring, the FOP has been waging a very targeted lobbying campaign by going after Members of the House one at a time, building support, educating staff and ultimately, getting us to this point. In October, I worked with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Rodney L. Davis (R-IL) and my Representative, Garret N. Graves (R-LA) to launch the Public Safety Working Group on Social Security Fairness. Uniting with other public safety groups, we have been closely coordinating a vigorous lobbying effort—combining the efforts of our Washington, DC staff with our grassroots activists and, with the help of Representatives Davis and Graves, Member-to-Member contact.
During our Day on the Hill, we held another meeting our expanded Working Group. Congressional staff, with input from the FOP developed a new list of Members to target based on past support, previous pledges of support and the impact that the WEP/GPO has in their States and districts. This approach is being fully coordinated by the FOP and the staff in the offices of Representatives Davis and Graves and our goal is to get to 290 cosponsors and force a floor vote.
Currently, we are focused on the largest States where local and State employees are affected: California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas. While I hope to be able to report that many of these Members signed on as a result of our work from Day on the Hill, these are the 36 (10 Democrats and 26 Republicans) Members that our Working Group will be focusing on in the coming weeks:
Democrats: Danny Davis
Republicans: Darin LaHood
Democrats: Dianne DeGette
Republicans: Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn
Democrats: Nancy Pelosi and Katie Porter
Republicans: Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock, Doug Lamalfa, Devin Nunes
Republicans: Steve Chabot, Brad Wenstrup, Jim Jordan, Bill Johnson, Warren Davidson, Anthony Gonzalez
Democrats: Lloyd Doggett, Sylvia Garcia, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Al Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, Liz Fletcher
Republicans: Dan Crenshaw, John Ratcliffe, Kevin Brady, Mike McCaul, Mike Conaway, Kay Granger, Mack Thornberry, Randy Weber, Chip Roy, Kenny Marchant, Bill Flores, Jody Arrington, Brian Babin
If your Representative is listed here – get in touch with the office—the one in your district and the Washington, D.C. office and ask them to support H.R. 141. Regardless of where you like, please reach out to your members of congress and ask for their support of this bill.
Looking ahead to the Senate, we have 37 cosponsors! Again, a historic high for support in the Senate. We need to increase this number to make sure the issue is familiar to the Senate should the House bill pass. One of the ways to do this is to increase the number of cosponsors you’re your Senator is not a cosponsor, call, write and email their office and ask them to support public safety officers and Social Security Fairness.
Another way to get attention on issues like this is to hold hearing. During our Day on the Hill, I had the opportunity to meet with one of my Senators, William M. Cassidy (R-LA) who serves on the Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy. We had an excellent conversations and Senator Cassidy said he would be very willing to work with us to hold a hearing on this issue—the first one in the Senate since 2007. This is an encouraging development and I am cautious optimistic that we will see some real progress on this issue in this Congress.
Patrick Yoes National President
Fraternal Order of Police