Grothman’s Bipartisan Air America Act Passes Unanimously Through Committee
Washington, May 25, 2021 | Timothy Svoboda (202-225-2476)
Today, the bipartisan Air America Act, authored by Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06), unanimously passed the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The next step for the Air America Act is a vote on the House floor.
Grothman introduced the Air America Act on February 24, 2021, which now has over 100 bipartisan cosponsors. This bill will correct an inequity suffered by the brave Americans who are former employees of Air America by ensuring they receive the federal retirement benefits and recognition they have earned.
This injustice toward Air Americans was brought to Grothman’s attention by Air American and Oshkosh resident, Neil Hansen, and the Air America Association.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a companion version of this bill in the U.S. Senate, which is currently cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 31 Senators.
“Congress has twice passed corrective legislation for other covert CIA-affiliated groups,” said Grothman. “It is not right that they have chosen to ignore Air Americans for so long. These patriots risked their lives, many of them giving their life, fighting communism in the same way members of the Air Force did. I am honored that so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are joining me to support these heroes. I thank Chairwoman Maloney for holding a markup on this bill and urge Speaker Pelosi to soon hold a vote on the House floor. Hopefully, today is the beginning of the end of Air Americans’ long struggle to receive the recognition they deserve for their service to our country.”
Background Information on Air Americans
The Air America Act will ensure that those Air Americans who qualify for retirement benefits under the law will receive what they earned and deserve. Those who don't have the years of experience required for retirement benefits will nonetheless be honored, finally, with the recognition that their efforts were carried out on behalf of the U.S. government.
Air America employees have not been granted their retirement credit because of an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rule change in 1985 that required government form SF-50/52 to prove federal employment status. While these patriots were, during their tenure working for Air America, legally defined as federal employees eligible for civil service retirement credit, the covert nature of their work resulted in a narrative that they were employees of a private entity. Moreover, for obvious reasons of secrecy in a clandestine operation, our government did not hire Air Americans using standard government forms. The unusual and unjust retroactive application of the amended regulation requiring form SF-50/52 in 1985 should never have been applied to Air Americans whose employing U.S. government entity, Air America, was dissolved in 1976.
U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) is serving his fourth term representing Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.