Get out the vote on H.R. 1140!
As this issue of the Newsletter was going to press, it was announced that the U.S. House of Representatives may schedule a floor vote on H.R. 1140 as early as July 30 or 31.
BLE and GIA lobbyists spent the latter part of July urging everyone to contact their members of Congress to ask that action be taken on measure, known as the Railroad Retirement and Survivors' Improvement Act of 2001, before the House of Representatives begins its August recess.
The House will be out of session for a month-long recess from August 4-September 4; therefore, there is little time left for considering this much-needed piece of legislation. After this recess, there is only a month left before the October 5 target for adjournment until after the first of the year.
Contact information for Representatives is available via the Internet at: <http://www.house.gov>.
Members can also contact their Representatives through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
H.R. 1140 was released without consideration by the House Ways & Means Committee on July 12.
The good news is that the Ways & Means Committee released H.R. 1140 without amendments, and a "clean" version of the bill is what rail labor lobbyists wanted all along.
As of July 27, H.R. 1140 had 371 co-sponsors. In the Senate, S. 697 has 72 co-sponsors. The 65 Representatives and 28 Senators who are not co-sponsoring the measure are listed on the BLE website.
H.R. 1140 would reduce the vesting requirement under the Railroad Retirement system from 10 years to five, eliminate the actuarial reduction for those who retire prior to age 62, increase surviving spouses' annuities, and eliminate the Railroad Retirement maximum.
A letter written by the daughter of a Railroad Retirement widow appears in this issue. It explains first-hand the need for H.R. 1140 and the importance of increasing the surviving spouses' annuities.
On July 25, House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-IA) removed H.R. 1140 from the House calendar, announcing he was opposed to the bill for budgetary reasons.
A quick grassroots effort by BLE & GIA members, and the rest of rail labor, forced Nussle to put the bill back on the calendar. A vote is now tentatively scheduled, under suspension of the rules, for July 30 or 31.
For late-breaking information on this of important piece of legislation,
BLE and GIA members are encouraged to visit the BLE website at: www.ble.org.
© 2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers