Government Accountability Office to Analyze Impact of Retirement Losses
By Paul Miller
While the Clinton and Trump campaigns battle it out, ProtectSeniors.Org has been breaking new ground with our federal legislation H.R. 1856, the “Employee Benefit Protection Act.” Coming off a seven-week recess in Congress, we have been making the most out of the stillness on Capitol Hill. We have focused our energy on increasing support for our bill and helping bring together two key Members of Congress for our cause.
H.R. 1856 would require that retirees be informed of any type of modification or termination of their benefits and it also importantly creates a federal legal presumption that earned healthcare benefits cannot be reduced or terminated during retirement.
For a while now we have been working on the initiation of a formal request to the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study about H.R. 1856. The goal of this study would be to: (1) determine and report on the troubling strategies that corporations use to avoid their obligations to pay promised employee and retiree benefits,
(2) study the use of spin-offs, mergers, subsidiaries, bankruptcies, asset sales, and other methods to avoid obligations to pay earned employee and retiree benefits,
(3) analyze the true impact of such avoidance on the financial, physical, and mental well-being of employees and retirees,
(4) determine the number of U.S. retirees currently impacted,
(5) determine the impact on federal and state budgets when employers terminate or reduce the benefits of employees and retirees and,
(6) make recommendations to prevent corporations from evading contractual obligations to pay employee and retiree benefits.
That important GAO study was originally to be conducted after the bill is signed into law, but ProtectSeniors.Org is not content waiting for that. We know better than to wait around the halls of Congress for something to happen, so we are pushing to have this study conducted in the beginning of 2017. This GAO study can supply us, Congress and the federal government information we need to spotlight the impacts and to successfully push for a Congressional vote sooner rather than later.
Obtaining this information has always been a critical part of our strategy for H.R. 1856.
Today we are very happy to report that the formal request to the GAO has been finalized with the backing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D) of New York and House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D) of Virginia.
Having Congressman Scott agree to use his influence as the Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member to help prioritize our GAO request is a momentous step for us in our efforts to bring fairness and justice to retirees all over the nation who have had their earned health care benefits stolen from them.
ProtectSeniors.Org is working with Rep. Slaughter to get more Republicans to sign onto the GAO request. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has already signed on.
We are very excited to be moving into the next steps of our strategy to restore retirees earned health care benefits. It is your continued energy and support that will drive this progress forward.