Spanberger, Graves Press for Markup on Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate the WEP & GPO, Provide Long Overdue Fairness to Public Servants

The Bipartisan “Social Security Fairness Act” Now Has 308 Cosponsors — More Than Enough to Guarantee the Legislation Would Pass on the U.S. House Floor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Garret Graves (R-LA-06) today urged the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee to take the next step to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) by holding a markup on their bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82).

The bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act — which now has 308 cosponsors — would eliminate both the WEP and the GPO, two provisions of the Social Security Act that unfairly reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for millions of Americans who have devoted much of their careers to public service — including federal employees, police officers, firefighters, and educators. The WEP impacts approximately 2 million Social Security beneficiaries, and the GPO impacts nearly 800,000 retirees.

In a letter to the Committee’s leadership, Spanberger and Graves highlighted the strong, bipartisan support for passing their Social Security Fairness Act, repealing both the WEP and the GPO, and providing direct relief to Social Security beneficiaries. The lawmakers urged Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO-08) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-01) to listen to the stories shared by public servants at the November 2023 field hearing and take the next step to bring the bill to the U.S. House floor for a vote by holding a markup on the broadly bipartisan legislation.

“As the lead sponsors of H.R. 82 — the Social Security Fairness Act, we write to you today to request that the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means continue its efforts to provide relief to those who are unfairly harmed by Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO),” wrote Spanberger and Graves. “We are grateful for the field hearing the Committee held on November 20 on the topic of the WEP and GPO. This forum gave your members the opportunity to hear directly from retired police officers, teachers, firefighters, government employees, and others who have been hurt for far too long by these shortsighted provisions. In the months since the Committee’s hearing, we understand that you have received more than 800 additional submissions of testimony for the hearing record from Americans who have experienced the devastating impacts of WEP and GPO.”

Their letter continued, “Congress cannot continue turning a blind eye to the broad array of Republican and Democratic Members of Congress, and the diverse coalition of Americans they represent, who have called on Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.”

Spanberger originally introduced the Social Security Fairness Act in January 2021 at the start of the 117th Congress. In November 2023, Spanberger and Graves urged the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee to hold a hearing on reforms to the WEP and GPO — and a hearing was held later that month. The lawmakers have consistently pushed for a vote on the bill.

Currently, the WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefits of an individual who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security. For example, educators who do not earn Social Security in the public schools but who work part-time or during the summer in jobs covered by Social Security have reduced benefits, even though they pay into the system just like others. Likewise, the GPO affects the spousal benefits of people who work as federal, state, or local government employees — including police officers, firefighters, and educators — if the job is not covered by Social Security. The GPO reduces by two-thirds the benefit received by surviving spouses who also collect a government pension.

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Neal:

As the lead sponsors of H.R. 82 — the Social Security Fairness Act, we write to you today to request that the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means continue its efforts to provide relief to those who are unfairly harmed by Social Security’s Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO). As you know, for decades the WEP and the GPO have unfairly reduced Social Security benefits for millions of public servants.

We are grateful for the field hearing the Committee held on November 20 on the topic of the WEP and GPO. This forum gave your members the opportunity to hear directly from retired police officers, teachers, firefighters, government employees, and others who have been hurt for far too long by these shortsighted provisions. In the months since the Committee’s hearing, we understand that you have received more than 800 additional submissions of testimony for the hearing record from Americans who have experienced the devastating impacts of WEP and GPO.

With more than 300 bipartisan cosponsors, H.R. 82 — the Social Security Fairness Act is currently the second-most cosponsored bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and represents the most widely supported legislative proposal before Congress to support retirees. Our bill would fully repeal both WEP and GPO, providing direct relief to three percent of beneficiaries — including public servants in every sector on fixed incomes whose retirement benefits have been unfairly reduced or eliminated as a result of their dedication to public service. We believe that H.R. 82 is the best solution, and we remain committed to working together with Committee leadership on a fair path forward.

We urge you to proceed with the next step in the legislative process by bringing up H.R. 82 for a markup. We are open to the Committee’s feedback on our bill through this process. However, hundreds of advocates who took the time to share their stories with your committee and millions of constituents across the country deserve a response. Congress cannot continue turning a blind eye to the broad array of Republican and Democratic Members of Congress, and the diverse coalition of Americans they represent, who have called on Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.

We thank you for your consideration and your continued commitment to protecting America’s retirees, and we look forward to working with you to bring H.R. 82 to the full U.S. House floor for a vote.

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