Fighting for the Issues that Matter: Social Security Fairness, Citizen Power, and More!

Judy Beard

September 18, 2023

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Social Security Fairness Act Call Congress Day of Action

Your Legislative Department continues to press forward on the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82/S. 597). The Social Security Fairness Act would repeal both the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). These two provisions negatively impact individuals under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) who qualify for Social Security benefits, as well as their spouses.

The WEP formula reduces the Social Security benefits of those with pensions from employers who did not withhold Social Security taxes, but still qualify for Social Security benefits through secondary non-federal employment. The GPO is similar to the WEP, but affects the spouses, survivors of those receiving pensions from employers who did not withhold Social Security taxes. The WEP reduction can total up to fifty percent of the pension amount, and the GPO reduction can total up to two-thirds of the pension amount.

The bill, introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Garret Graves (R-LA-06), has bipartisan support. As of the start of the August recess, H.R. 82 has obtained 289 cosponsors in the House, just one cosponsor short of our goal of 290, which would require the bill to be marked up in committee. While we are almost at our goal, it is important that we continue to obtain cosponsors well past our goal to ensure that the bill has enough support to make it all the way to passage.

Sometimes the strategy of a bill’s sponsors is to hold off on promoting the committee’s vote until the bill has as many cosponsors as possible. To help facilitate this, I am happy to announce a legislative call Congress day of action which will occur on September 27. On this day, call the legislative hotline at (844) 402-1001 to be connected to your representative. Once connected, please ask them to cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act and pressure House Speaker McCarthy to place the bill on the floor for a vote!

Every Election Matters - Issue 1 Defeated in Ohio!

Democracy prevailed on August 8 when the people of Ohio voted down State Issue 1, which would have raised the threshold to pass a state constitutional amendment to 60 percent from a simple majority, and would make the placement of citizen-led issues on the ballot significantly more challenging. More than 100 years of majority rule would have been eliminated in favor of special interests.

A large, bipartisan coalition worked together to educate the public on the dangers of moving the goalposts for citizen-led issues, and the Legislative and Political Department is proud of the work our Ohio members put in to defeat Issue 1. Every election matters, and we are focused on ensuring that democracy, and “one person, one vote,” is protected.

We want to thank our Ohio state leadership, especially President Steve Charles and Administrative Vice President Vance Zimmerman, for their commitment to this fight. We also want to thank our members across the state who stepped up and got involved, whether by volunteering, or simply voting this issue down.■

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