The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday demanded that the U.S. Treasury Department release documents relating to pension decisions that impacted Delphi salaried retirees.
If this demand results in the release of information that shows why Delphi’s salaried retirees were treated so much differently than the hourly retirees, then the effort will have been successful, said Bruce Gump, chairman of the Warren legislative group and vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association.
“The Treasury Department has claimed their decisions saved one million jobs, yet they refuse to release the documents behind those decisions,” he said. “They’ve even claimed they will use executive privilege to keep those documents private.”
“Until the Treasury Department and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation end their stonewalling and turn over the requested documents, retirees across the Mahoning Valley and America won’t be able to get the justice and fairness they deserve,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th. “If there is nothing to hide, then the documents relating to the 2008 taxpayer-funded bailout of General Motors should be released in a timely fashion. I wholly support the committee taking any necessary steps to get to the bottom of what happened. It is not the place of the Obama administration — or any administration — to be picking winners and losers.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, declined to talk about the committee decision. But he did introduce a bill Monday to provide Delphi retirees and other eligible individuals the choice of continuing within the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program past the program’s Dec. 31, 2013, termination date.
“It is crucial that we do not leave behind these hardworking Americans, like the Delphi retirees, many of whom have had their pensions and health care significantly reduced through no fault of their own,” Ryan said. “Congress has the opportunity to extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit program to ensure that those who had their earned heath benefits stripped from them continue to receive the affordable coverage they deserve.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.
The demand was based on the meeting the committee had in Dayton, Gump said.
“They promised they would follow through with more information,” he said.
During negotiations between General Motors and the government during the 2009 bankruptcy, the federal government guaranteed the pensions of hourly retirees with General Motors and spin-off company Delphi, but not the pension of salaried retirees.
More than 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees, including 1,500 in the Mahoning Valley, have been without health and life insurance and had their pensions cut anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent.