Press Releases

For too many individuals, the barriers to receiving an education or obtaining the skills needed to succeed in this economy are insurmountable. The financial burden often goes beyond just the costs of tuition. Costs related to child care, transportation, or housing can have as much of a burden on individuals looking to gain the skills and education they need to succeed.
The BUILD Act will significantly improve our capacity to reduce poverty and inequality around the world. It’s vital that the U.S. be at the forefront of helping communities around the world to address their development and humanitarian challenges. Supporting economic growth in less developed countries promotes health, peace, and stability that is critical to our national security,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “This new development finance institution strengthens the ability of the United States to promote sustainable, broad-based development projects in countries around the world.

Reps. Smith, Price, Welch and Over 100 House Democrats Urge Trump Administration to Reverse Decision To Slash Critical Aid for Regional Stability in the Middle East

In a letter to Secretary Pompeo, 112 House Democrats call for reinstating UNRWA funding as well as humanitarian and economic bilateral foreign aid to the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem

October 2, 2018

Recently, the Trump State Department announced it would reprogram more than $230 million in bilateral assistance, which provides emergency food security, health care, education, and clean water, among other vital life-saving programs, for Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Additionally, on August 31, 2018, the Trump administration announced it would end longstanding contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), a UN relief and development agency that provides essential services to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza and throughout the region.
Today the Republicans doubled down on their tax scam, giving corporations and the wealthy a second massive tax break in less than nine months, sticking hard-working American families with the bill. The package of bills forced through the House by Republicans this week will make hundreds of billions of dollars in temporary tax cuts passed last December permanent, ballooning our deficit and moving us further away from an economy that works for everyone.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Adam Smith introduced the Social Security Equity Act, legislation to provide relief to some of those workers and retirees who see their Social Security benefits reduced because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

The Social Security Equity Act helps to keep many workers and retirees from experiencing benefit cuts due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP reduces payments to many retirees who split their careers between jobs that were covered by Social Security and in positions where they earned even minimal public pension benefits.

“Hard-working Americans should not experience a significant hit to their Social Security benefits because they happened to work for an employer that provided a pension, in addition to facing low wages, inconsistent work opportunities, or the need to take time away from work. By simply changing the WEP formula, Congress can make this aspect of Social Security less regressive and allow more retirees to collect full Social Security payments,” said Congressman Adam Smith.

First implemented in 1983 as part of broader efforts to bolster the Social Security program’s finances, the WEP was intended to reduce excess benefits, or “windfalls,” accruing to workers who spent much of their career earning a pension instead of paying into the Social Security program—in jobs most often found in the public sector—but who also received benefits from relatively short tenures in Social Security-covered employment.

Unfortunately, the WEP disproportionally hurts those who earned lower wages and experienced less consistent employment outside of jobs where pensions were available.  Receiving even a small pension from relatively brief employment not covered by Social Security places those who did not work full-time, earned lower wages at Social Security-covered jobs, took time away from work to care for loved ones, or those forced to go on disability, at risk of being hit by the WEP. For example, a public school teacher who earned a modest pension from a teaching position that was not covered by Social Security, then took a number of years away from work to care for a family member, and returned to work in part-time and relatively low paying positions for the remainder of their career, could see their Social Security benefits reduced under the WEP.

To avoid these cuts, retirees must have worked long enough and made enough each year in Social Security-covered employment to qualify for an exemption. In many years, full time work for the full calendar year at the federal minimum wage would still not be enough to help that worker avoid the WEP when he or she retires.

The Social Security Equity Act reduces, from 30 to 25, the number of years in Social Security-covered employment required to become exempt from the WEP.  The bill also decreases the annual earnings threshold for each of those years to count toward a WEP exemption—also known as the substantial earnings floor.

By lowering barriers to achieving a WEP exemption, this legislation provides WEP relief to more retirees of blended career histories and will allow retirees to receive more of their Social Security benefits.