WARREN - Saying the investigation of cuts to Delphi salaried retiree pensions has "dragged on for far too long," a Congressional subcommittee chairman on Monday said he will subpoena government records and order testimony to get to the bottom of it.
Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations on Monday oversaw a two-hour field hearing in Dayton in which unequal treatment of Delphi retirees was discussed.
Testimony in Monday's hearing came from five witnesses, including Bruce Gump of Niles, who is chairman of the Warren Legislative Group and vice-chairman for the Board of Directors of the Delphi Salaried Retirees Association. Discussions focused on the thousands of Delphi salaried retirees who lost large portions of their pensions during the General Motors bankruptcy of 2009, while hourly retirees' pensions were made whole. Many of the records being sought have been denied by members of the President Barack Obama administration.
"That's good news," Gump said. "We have been after those records and the administration has threatened to use executive privilege. Think about that. This is not a matter of national security."
Gump said testimony Monday focused on whether there was a need for the salaried retirees' pensions to be cut, some by as much as 70 percent. It affected some of the 20,000-plus salaried retirees and pension participants, including many of the roughly 1,500 retired salaried workers from Delphi Packard in the Warren area.
During its bankruptcy, General Motors received a loan and taxpayer bailout of nearly $50 billion, then made whole the pensions of hourly workers. The salaried plan was shifted to federal pension insurer Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which cut payouts for younger workers after Delphi emerged that fall from its own bankruptcy.
Salaried retirees claim studies show the pension could be funded with about $5.1 billion in money available to the pension insurer, without adding taxpayer dollars.
Retirees have alleged the decision to cut the pensions came because the pension amounts stood in the way of the treasury's attempts to draw Delphi and GM out of their bankruptcies.
"This was the quickest way to do it," Gump said.
Reached at his Washington, D.C., office Monday evening, Mica confirmed he intends to seek subpoenas of the records.
"We have some from the retirees association, some by the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), some by treasury, some by the UAW (United Auto Workers). We have got just about everybody who participated in this field hearing have been denied documents, and I have taken over this subcommittee responsibility," Mica said. "I will not permit any further foot dragging and we are going to talk to the people who were involved."
In addition, Mica said he wants testimony from people who were named in documents but whose information was redacted, saying if they won't testify voluntarily, they should face subpoena.
"I think the whole thing has dragged on for far too long," Mica said. "They have used government money in an inappropriate manner, and I think we have got to get to the bottom of it and see what remedy can be available."
To Gump, the remedy is simple: Make the Delphi salaried retiree pensions whole.
"We have said over and over, all we want is to be treated fairly. Everybody else got their pensions and we should, too. No tax dollars are required for ours. The money is already there," Gump said.