WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced a bill with U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to expand and permanently extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for Delphi salaried retirees as a part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. This important tax credit would help the Delphi workers afford health coverage after losing much of their pensions and benefits.
“While TAA and HCTC are no substitute for a job, this is a fair extension of health care tax credits for workers who lose their jobs to unfair trade practices and to retirees who lost their benefits due to no fault of their own,” Brown said. “The HCTC would ensure that the loss of their benefits doesn’t mean the loss of their health coverage.”
Without Congressional action, the HCTC will expire at the end of 2013. Brown’s bill, the Health Care Coverage for Displaced Works Act, would permanently extend the HCTC so that it no longer requires constant reauthorization, and expand the HCTC to 80 percent, a nearly ten percent increase from the current rate.
The HCTC helps trade-affected workers; select groups of retirees, like Delphi salaried retirees; and their families purchase private health coverage to replace the employer-sponsored coverage they lost. It currently makes health insurance coverage more affordable by providing a 72.5 percent tax credit to eligible workers. This bill would expand the tax credit to 80 percent.
In April 2013, Brown announced that the Department of the Treasury agreed to meet with the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association (DSRA). This announcement came on the heels of Brown’s efforts to push the Obama Administration to meet with the Delphi salaried retirees and to pursue efforts that would restore the retirees’ pensions and benefits.
In September 2012, Brown and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13) introduced legislation that would restore the full pensions of Delphi retirees. The bill would transfer certain proceeds from the sale of government stock of General Motors to a fund at the U.S. Treasury Department that would supplement payment to the Delphi retirees.
In Jan. 2011, Brown introduced legislation to extend the HCTC for an additional 18 months.
In October 2011, Brown applauded a decision by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York that paved the way for the establishment of a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) which provides Delphi retirees with a tax credit to purchase private health benefits. Prior to the decision, Brown and Ryan introduced legislation that would create a VEBA to provide health coverage to Delphi salaried and union hourly workers.
Ryan recently introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives that would continue HCTC for Delphi Retirees.