Boehner Column: President Obama Owes Ohioans Answers on the Delphi Pensions Scandal
Congressman John Boehner
November 1, 2012
Today, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following column calling on President Obama to personally order the release of all administration records associated with the decision to slash pension for non-union auto workers at Delphi during his taxpayer-funded auto bailout:
“President Obama has spent a lot of time in our state lately talking about the taxpayer-funded corporate bailout of General Motors and Chrysler implemented by his administration. But there’s one part of the bailout he refuses to talk about: the Delphi pension scandal, in which thousands of non-union retirees saw their retirement savings slashed, while the president’s union allies were protected.
“I am calling on the president to personally order the release of all administration records associated with the decision to slash pensions for non-union auto workers at Delphi during his taxpayer-funded auto bailout. Let me explain why.
“If you live in the Miami Valley or other parts of our country where GM’s Delphi division had a heavy presence, it’s likely you know the basics of this sad story. As part of the president’s 2009 auto bailout, the Obama administration issued a decision that ‘fully funded pensions of auto supplier Delphi’s [United Auto Worker] retirees, but left about 22,000 salaried retirees with drastically lower benefits,’ according to the Detroit Free Press.
“For several years now, thousands of non-union workers in Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere whose pensions were slashed as part of the Obama administration’s auto bailout have been denied their right to know why this decision was made and how it was justified.
“These workers, who are fighting back, formed the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA). You can follow them on Twitter at @DelphiPensions, where their objective is stated without ambiguity: ‘To restore the pensions we earned at General Motors and Delphi over decades of effort, but were stolen from us by [President Obama’s] Auto Task Force.’
“‘The double-edged sword was the loss of my retirement benefits at the same time as the downturn in the economy,’ one Springfield homeowner hit by the Delphi debacle recently told the Springfield News Sun.
“In 2010, on behalf of those affected, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and I asked the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the Delphi pension scandal. The GAO agreed, and issued its first report in early 2011.
“As I noted at that time, the GAO report made it more evident than ever that there was preferential treatment given to the unions at the expense of Delphi retirees. The GAO found that the Obama administration’s union allies were given preferential treatment during the taxpayer-funded bailout, while non-union workers saw their pensions cut by up to 70 percent.
“The critical questions are – and have been – who within the administration authorized this action, and why
“As part of our new majority in the House, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and others have kept the heat on regarding the Delphi scandal on behalf of the thousands of retirees who have been impacted. And new information has been uncovered that demands a detailed response from the White House.
“The Treasury Department has maintained for some time that it had no involvement in the decision to terminate the Delphi pensions. But as Chairman Camp noted last week, ‘emails the Committee received show that top officials at Treasury were assessing the ‘politically sensitive’ nature of the Delphi pension terminations and were heavily involved in decisions concerning Delphi pensions.’
“On behalf of those who lost their pensions, congressional investigators have requested documents from the administration that are likely to show the extent of the administration’s involvement in the decision. But those requests have simply been ignored.
“‘Despite repeated assertions that the Obama Administration would be the most transparent in history, Treasury and the White House have continued to stonewall this request,’ said Chairman Camp.
“I agree. Accountability is needed. The administration must end its stonewalling and start turning over all of the information that has been requested. The White House has an obligation to explain its involvement in the pension scandal to Delphi workers, their families, and taxpayers.
“The Delphi pension scandal underscores the danger of government bureaucrats picking winners and losers in the private sector. That’s why my colleagues and I have focused on getting our economy moving by getting government out of the way, and removing barriers that make it harder to create jobs.
“Thousands of auto workers in Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere deserve to know what role the Obama administration played in cutting their pensions while protecting the president’s union allies. It’s time for the president to start providing some answers.”
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