A bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced a bill in 2021 called the Social Security Fairness Act. According to the summary listed on Congress.gov, the House bill “repeals provisions that reduce Social Security benefits for individuals who receive other benefits, such as a pension from a state or local government.” It would also eliminate the existing government pension offset and windfall elimination provision (WEP).
The leading sponsors of the bill, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) wrote a letter to leaders in Congress on Tuesday, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), as well as the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee. The letter asked the leaders to move forward with a vote on the Social Security Fairness Act.
“We write to urge you to discharge H.R. 82, the Social Security Fairness Act, from the Ways and Means Committee and bring it to the House floor for a vote as soon as possible,” the letter says. “Passing the Social Security Fairness Act will immediately benefit millions of retired police officers, federal employees, first responders, and other public servants. H.R. 82 has significant bipartisan support – of the more than 7,700 bills introduced this Congress, only 18 have more co-sponsors – and it’s time for the House to vote.”
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has backed a different piece of legislation, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act. That bill would not completely eliminate the WEP. A Forbes op-ed published in late 2020 urged President Joe Biden to reform the windfall elimination provision. During his campaign, a plan released by Biden proposed eliminating the WEP, but the White House has not much addressed the issue during Biden’s presidency.
In addition, the current version of the Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust would repeal both the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset (GPO), even though such repeals were not part of the versions of that bill introduced in past years.
The authors of the letter noted that a version of the bill to get rid of the WEP and GPO has been introduced in every Congress since 2001.
According to the Federal News Network, the WEP is a “complicated relic” of the 1983 Social Security reform legislation which affects about 1.9 million people around the country who receive an annuity from their government work but also collected Social Security due to separate private sector work.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.