WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) condemned Senate Republicans for refusing to take up and pass legislation that would extend, for one year, the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) for Delphi salaried retirees and other affected workers. The Tax Extenders Act of 2013 included the HCTC, an important tax credit that would help retirees who lost their health care coverage—in addition to their pensions and other benefits—when the companies for which they worked either entered into bankruptcy or moved operations overseas. Today, Brown delivered a speech on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to extend the HCTC. But despite support from Democrats, Republicans have refused to pass this legislation.
“This action hurts the thousands of Delphi retirees who lost their pensions and benefits due to no fault of their own,” Brown said. “Extending the HCTC would have ensured that the loss of their benefits doesn’t mean the loss of their health coverage. But because the Tax Extenders Act of 2013 was blocked from passing with unanimous consent, many Ohioans and their families will be unnecessarily hurt.”
Without Congressional action, the HCTC will expire at the end of 2013. 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 more affordable by providing a 72.5 percent tax credit to eligible workers. Today’s amendment would extend the tax credit at the same rate for an additional year.
Brown continues to stand by Delphi Retirees and pursue solutions to their lost benefits. Earlier this month, Brown introduced an amendment to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) that would have extended the HCTC one year for Delphi salaried retirees and cosponsored another bipartisan amendment that would extend the program. In August, Brown introduced a bill with U.S. Sens. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to expand and permanently extend the HCTC for Delphi salaried retirees as a part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. 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 an 80 percent tax credit, a nearly ten percent increase from the current rate.
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. Earlier this year, Ryan introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives that would continue HCTC for Delphi Retirees.