Dear LRTA Members,
I am ever mindful about bombarding you with too many emails. I realize it gets very confusing, particularly as it did at the end of the last session, when actions were being taken very quickly and we had to respond accordingly. Because of this, I waited until a bill had been introduced in both the House and the Senate in this new session that began in January before posting any updates. Things are really rolling now! Please read this email carefully, particularly the Action Items I have listed at the end. It is imperative that we all take part in this effort because we are seeing evidence of having positive effects on bringing awareness to this awful law!
We are very proud of our very own Representative Garret Graves, who introduced the total repeal bill on the first day of the new session, as promised, and was even able to keep the same number, H.R. 82! He and his staff are working closely with the National WEP/GPO Repeal Task Force, of which I am a member. This bipartisan bill already has 187 cosponsors! He also is receiving a lot of publicity as you can see in these articles: https://rollcall.com/2023/03/03/government-pensioners-look-to-elbow-into-social-security-talks/ and https://www.businessreport.com/politics/lapolitics-graves-influence-growing-in-congress.
My first call for members to contact our Representatives via Voter Voice paid off! All our Louisiana legislators have cosponsored H.R. 82 EXCEPT for Rep. Steve Scalise. I have called his office and spoken with staff members as to why he has not and they could not tell me. It is important to have his support, considering his new position as House Majority Leader!
The Task Force also is working closely with Senator Bill Cassidy’s staff regarding his own bipartisan Social Security Reform bill, which will include WEP/GPO repeal, that he plans to introduce over the summer. We are not certain if we will be able to support it until we see the final draft, but he also has been receiving publicity regarding it: https://sports.yahoo.com/congress-remove-social-security-penalty-181819781.html. Rep. Julia Letlow is also a strong supporter of repeal and was quoted in this same article saying she has gotten over 3,000 phone calls in her first session in office regarding it. Keep up the good work, everyone!
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced S. 597, a bipartisan companion bill to HR82. (He introduces one every session and the last one was SB1302, which we supported.) The Task Force has been concentrating on getting former cosponsors of these two bills to cosponsor again as well as getting new representatives onboard. So far, only Senator Cassidy has cosponsored this bill.
The Task Force also is encouraging everyone to sign a petition to have the largest national retirement group, AARP, support WEP/GPO repeal. It is outrageous that they have not done so! Their support, along with their lobbying strength, would go a long way to accomplishing repeal.
There is definitely a different feel about this session! We are gaining momentum early, getting more and more organizations involved and more positive publicity to make our case stronger. https://ssfairness.org/senators-new-bill-the-social-security-fairness-act-seeks-to-repeal-the-wep-and-gpo/ As Rep. Graves says, “We’re not giving up!”
Here’s what you can do to help!
1. Contact Rep. Graves’ office to thank him and his staff for all their hard work in introducing the bill and obtaining cosponsors. Call his DC office at (202) 225-3901 or if you are a constituent go to www.garretgraves.house.gov and fill in your zip code to email him.
2. Follow Congressman Garret Graves Facbook page and sign up for his WEP/GPO alerts and his live video Town Halls. He always gets questions about WEP/GPO and he responds to all of them.
3. Contact Rep. Steve Scalise’s office to find out why he hasn’t cosponsored H.R. 82 yet and urge him to do so. Call his DC office at (202) 225-3015 or if you are a constituent go to www.scalise.house.gov and fill in your zip code to email him.
4. If you haven’t already, please join:
• the National WEP/GPO Repeal Movement page on FB. It lists daily actions that will help our cause.
• www.ssfairness.org also has a lot of important information and will allow you to see what is being done and what actions need to be taken.
• Twitter is an easy and effective way to contact legislators. You can simply go to the WEPandGPO Repeal Twitter page and hit “retweet” on any and all posts regarding this.
5. Contact Senator John Kennedy to ask for his support of S. 597. Call his DC office at (202) 224 4623 or if you are a constituent go to www.kennedy.senate.gov and fill in the form to email him.
6. Please sign the petition to obtain support from AARP. https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/aarp-support-the-repeal-of-the-gpo-wep?share=6f22e5fa-aea7-4983-a97d-687e34d9f39c&source=s.fwd&utm_medium=&utm_source=s.fwd
Thank you for your support and assistance. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to reach me via email, phone or text.
LRTA Legislative Chairperson