By Representative Mike Garcia
Social Security and Medicare are promises to our seniors we cannot break. Seniors need to know they can trust their guaranteed benefits – earned through hard work – will not change.
We must ensure benefits earned are benefits maintained. That’s why I am proud to cosponsor H.R. 141, bipartisan legislation to eliminate the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO) in our last Congress. The WEP and GPO unfairly penalize workers who paid into Social Security and earned benefits in addition to receiving a public pension through other work.
Specifically, the WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefits of an individual paying into the system from one job while receiving a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security. Educators are just one example of folks especially hard hit when they take a summer job. The GPO significantly cuts by two-thirds the spousal benefits of federal, state and local employees in jobs not covered by Social Security such as police officers, firefighters, and educators.
These provisions are outdated and unfair to many seniors, and it’s time to repeal them. Workers who paid into Social Security and their spouses should not be penalized and lose earned benefits for working in public service and the private sector. If you paid into Social Security, this is your money, not a government entitlement or subsidy.
As we look to the start of the 117th Congress, my commitment to seniors and workers is to fully support Social Security and Medicare and to oppose cuts to these vital programs. We have many challenges ahead of us. We must keep the economy moving and growing again as we fight coronavirus. Government spending must get under control. And we must ensure Social Security and Medicare works for today’s seniors and future generations. There are ways to do both!
I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle these challenges. As we do, we must remember our sacred commitments to preserve Social Security and Medicare to the seniors who served and built our country.
The opinions expressed in “Congressional Corner” reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of TSCL.