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Boehner and Wicker Seek Answers for Delphi Retirees

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Senator Roger Wicker, Delphi

Boehner and Wicker Seek Answers for Delphi Retirees

Congressman John Boehner
January 31, 2011


Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will complete phase one of its non-partisan, independent analysis of the federal financial assistance provided to the General Motors (GM) Corporation and its treatment of non-unionized Delphi retirees. The report will be released on March 31, 2010, and will contain a specific timeline of the events that transpired.

“I’m hopeful that GAO’s investigation will provide answers as to why thousands of Delphi retirees were treated differently than their unionized co-workers,” Boehner said. “The Obama Administration’s refusal to voluntarily provide a full explanation is disappointing. This entire process has only confirmed my belief that the federal government should not be in the business of running private companies.”

“Delphi retirees continue to struggle to learn why non-unionized Delphi retirees did not receive the same pension benefits as their unionized colleagues following the taxpayer bailout,” said Wicker. “The Obama Administration should fully disclose why this disparity was allowed to occur. The forthcoming GAO reports should bring any wrongdoing to light.”

Over $70 billion in taxpayer funding has been transferred to GM to keep the company afloat. Under the Obama administration, the federal government acquired a 60 percent ownership of GM following the company’s bankruptcy proceedings. Additionally, the United Auto Workers Union received a 17.5 percent ownership in the auto manufacturer. Many are concerned that the federal government, acting through GM, picked winners and losers in the GM bankruptcy proceedings. Pension agreements are altered routinely during bankruptcy proceedings, but in the GM case, certain pension beneficiaries were protected during the process while others were not.

In the letter from Ms. Barbara Bovdjerg, GAO’s Managing Director for Education, Workforce, and Income Security issues, to Senator Wicker and Speaker Boehner, Bovdjerg said: “The [GAO] product will show a timeline with descriptions of significant events concerning the financial condition of Delphi and General Motors, pension plan agreements, and involvement of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Treasury Department.” The full text of the letter is attached.

In addition to the phase one report, GAO plans to release a final report at the end of this year that will investigate why unionized Delphi retirees were treated differently than their non-unionized counterparts. The GAO report will be coordinated with a report from the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), which announced the audit last week in its Quarterly Report to Congress. The SIGTARP audit will examine if any outside political influence from the Obama Administration played a role in keeping unionized pensions whole while non-unionized pensions were not.

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