Co-sponsor the Bipartisan Susan Muffley Act (H.R.6929 / S.3766) To Right a Government Wrong

Congress has the responsibility to restore the full, earned pension benefits of salaried retirees of the former auto parts maker Delphi Corporation. In 2009, the Government’s Auto Task Force (ATF) directed General Motors through its 45-day bankruptcy. The ATF used $51 Billion of public monies to buy 61% of the common stock of "New GM," or "Government Motors" as pundits called it. It’s understandable that the Government would seek to prevent GM from being liquidated, which would have put the U.S. auto industry in turmoil.
But before investing public money in "New GM," the ATF intruded into the bankruptcy of GM's biggest supplier at the time – Delphi. The ATF put the Government’s financial gain ahead of what's morally right and fair to citizens. The ATF insisted that Delphi must rapidly emerge from its own Chapter 11 before the ATF became "New GM's" principal investor. This added real time pressures to what happened next.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) involuntarily terminated Delphi's defined benefit pension plans, which covered union-represented factory employees, and those who were paid salaries. This would normally have meant lower benefits for most everyone. But then, the ATF was concerned that union employees at GM and/or Delphi might strike over the reduction of pension benefits for Delphi factory employees – threatening the Government’s investment.
So, the ATF gave GM additional taxpayer money so the automaker could "top up" the partial pensions that union-represented Delphi retirees would have received because of their plan’s termination. They were designated winners. But the ATF designated Delphi’s salaried retirees as losers, even though our pension plan was 86% funded at a time when the nation was coming out of the Great Recession. Our salaried plan was even better funded than the average of the 100 largest similar pension plans. This was NOT a normal PBGC termination of a company’s failed pension plan. But because Delphi’s salaried employees couldn’t strike and were no threat to "Government Motors," the ATF decided NOT to similarly protect our full, earned pensions. The notion of "retiring with dignity" went out the window through no fault of our own.
Today, Delphi salaried retirees continue to have up to 70% of our earned pension benefits withheld, while union-represented factory employee retirees continue to be made whole, thanks to the ATF. Congress should correct this grievous action that financially and emotionally injured our group of seniors who worked hard and played by the rules for the promise of full pension benefits upon retirement from our salaried jobs.
In this unique situation, ATF officials used taxpayer funds to buy almost 2/3 of a giant, bankrupt, private corporation. They were told by U.S. Treasury and the Administration to act in a "commercially reasonable manner." But there were no government policy or procedures to guide them. The ATF’s lead advisor told Congress that they were just trying to get the best deal for the American people. In pursuit of its own financial gain, the ATF used public funds to favor some American workers over others in the same company. It trampled any notion of being morally right and fair, pulled off the mantle of government, and behaved like a ruthless private investor. But not always — the ATF set aside its "commercially reasonable manner" mindset when it allowed New GM to keep its costly downtown Detroit HQ, rather than cutting costs by consolidating into a suburban GM site. Another example of the Government using public funds to pick winners and losers.
This shouldn’t happen to any American citizen. Please co-sponsor bipartisan H.R.6929 / S.3766 to show even broader bipartisan support for righting this Government wrong.