MEMO TO: Federal and postal workers, military personnel and U.S. retirees.
SUBJECT: Your Senate Hit Parade.
Ever since Congress began work to cut back the number of cost of living adjustments that U.S. retirees received, federal and military people have been asking us to publish a "hit list" of their friends and foes on this issue.
A good guy, if you draw a federal pension or plan to some day, is a Senate or House member who favors keeping the March and September inflation adjustments that retirees now get.
A bad person to that same group -- about 8 million voters, by the way -- is any member of Congress who favors the Carter administration plan to limit U.S. retirees to one COL raise a year.
The problem in compiling a "hit list" is that reducing the COL pension raise is complicated. The Senate and House both voted to back recommendations of their budget committees, which include making a savings of about $500 million by whacking one of the two COL adjustments.
Congressional committees with jurisdiction over federal-postal-military retirement had little choice but to comply with the budget committee orders. What they did, however, was to try to minimize the pain to retirees by making the savings to one-time operation.
The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee voted to make the savings by cutting out only the September 1980 raise due retirees -- with a full catch-up for them next March. The House Post Office-Civil Service Committee also compromised, but its plan would scratch (one time only) the March 1981 raise.
Retirees aren't crazy about either plan, but both represent a compromise. It was either that or a vote to make the one-shot COL pension raise a permanent fixture.
On June 30, the Senate voted on the issue. It had the choice of making the COL cutback a one-time thing, or of making the once-a-year adjustment a permanent policy. In the view of lobbyists for federal, postal unions and retiree groups, this gave a clear-cut indication of the good guys vs. the bad guys.
The vote was 59 in favor of the COL compromise (a one-time reduction of the number of raises) against 30 members who wanted to make the once-a-year COL pension raise a permanent one.
All four Maryland and Virginia senators voted for the compromise, to save the two COLs in the future. Sens. David Pryor (D-Ark.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Charles Mathias (R-Md.), Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), James Sasser (D-Tenn.) and Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) led the fight to save the COL from permanent cut back.
Sens. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), and Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) led the fight for permanent reduction in the number of COL pension raises.
Here are the names of the 30 senators who voted in favor of making the once-a-year COL adjustment permanent. Later on we will do the House side:
Sen. William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.); Howard H. Baker (R-Tenn.); Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.); Rudy Boschwitz (R-Minn.); Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.); John H. Chafee (R-R.I.).
William Cohen (R-Maine); John C. Danforth (R-Mo.); Thomas F. Eagleton (D-Mo.); James Exon (D-Neb.); John Glenn (D-Ohio) and Jesse Helms (R-N.C.)
Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.); Walter D. Huddleston (D-Ky.); Gordon Humphrey (R-N.H.); Roger W. Jepsen (R-Iowa); Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.); Richard Lugar (R-Ind.).
George Mitchell (D-Maine); Sam Nunn (D-Ga.); William Proxmire (D-Wis.); William Roth (R-Del.); Richard Schweiker (R-Pa.); Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.).
Robert T. Stafford (R-Vermont); John Stennis (D-Miss.); Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.); John Tower (R-Tex.); Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.) and Edward Zorinsky (D-Neb.).
Eleven senators did not vote on the issue. One of them was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). Although Kennedy has assured federal unions, retiree groups and individual employes that he opposes any cut back in their COL pension raises, he has missed two key votes on the issue. Others listed as not voting on the COL question are:
Max Baucus (D-Mont.); Henry Bellmon (R-Okla.); Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.); Russell B. Long (D-La.); George McGovern D-S.D.); Bob Packwood (R-Ore.); Larry Pressler (R-S.D.); Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.); Adlai Stevenson (D-Ill.) and Milton Young (R-N.D.).