Pilot Light: Coble to Testify on Pension Reform
Congressman Howard Coble, a longtime critic of the congressional pension system, will have a chance today to tell his colleagues why the program needs to be reformed.
Coble, who has refused to participate in the pension system, will testify before a House subcommittee on his bill to lengthen the number of years required to be eligible to collect the annuity. He will testify before the Oversight and Government Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, which is conducting a hearing on strengthening the entire federal pension system.
Coble introduced legislation to increase the number of years required for vesting in the congressional pension plan from five to 12 years.
This hearing is an offshoot of a nationally televised story last November on congressional pensions. Coble was interviewed for ABC-TV’s newsmagazine show “20/20” concerning his refusal to participate in the pension plan. Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican, told ABC last fall that he would conduct a hearing on Coble’s bill, along with other legislative efforts to reform the system.
Coble will testify as part of the second panel of witnesses, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
PIPELINE — Back in the U.S. House after a hospital stay, Coble took time to thank everyone for expressions of concern during his illness in December, then delivered sharp criticism of President Obama’s rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Coble was hospitalized Dec. 13-27 for treatment of depleted blood sodium levels caused by an upper respiratory illness. His doctors have since cleared him to return to a full schedule in Congress.
The feisty Republican from Greensboro lost no time issuing blistering criticism of the president from the House floor.
“The president is killing a plan that would create 20,000 construction jobs and more than 100,000 support jobs down the road,” Coble said. “This is 2012, and we can find a way to build a pipeline that is sensitive to the environment while delivering much-needed North American-produced energy.
“I hope that Congress can find a way to circumvent this rejection and make the Keystone pipeline a reality.”
VOTERS — Moore County voter registration grew by 103 prospective voters during December.
The Board of Elections reported total registration of 60,966 as of Jan. 3. The total was 60,863 on Dec. 1.
The elections website shows that the biggest gain was among unaffiliated registrants, 74. Republicans added 30, but Democrats lost one. Totals were: 25,633 Republicans, 18,056 Democrats, 17,132 unaffiliated and 145 Libertarians.
The filing period for the 2012 election year opens at noon Friday, Feb. 13, and ends Friday, Feb. 29, at noon.
WORKING LANDS – The third and final public forum on the proposed Working Lands Protection Plan will be held from 6 until 8 p.m. Thursday in the Robbins Elementary School auditorium.
The first public-comment sessions were held Monday in Aberdeen and Tuesday in Vass.
The Moore County Planning and Community Development Department is hosting the forums in collaboration with the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Cooperative Extension Service. Copies of the draft plan may be viewed in the offices of any of the hosts and also at all libraries in the county library system.
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