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Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill To Provide Increased Retirement Benefits to Totally Disabled District of Columbia Policemen and Firemen

August 17, 1971

I AM TODAY withholding my approval of H.R. 2600, which would increase the retirement benefits of former members of the District of Columbia Police and Fire departments, the U.S. Park Police, the Executive Protective Service and the U.S. Secret Service who retired prior to October 1, 1956, with service-incurred disabilities rated at 100 percent.

Bills with somewhat similar objectives were vetoed by President Eisenhower in 1959 and by President Kennedy in 1961. This particular bill has been opposed by the D.C. Government in Senate hearings. After reviewing the merits, I am vetoing H.R. 2600 because I believe it is inconsistent with essential standards of fairness and impartiality toward other District Government employees.

H.R. 2600 would grant an unwarranted benefit to a small, special group of retirees. These former employees already receive annuity increases substantially above those of other District employees. Furthermore, under their retirement system, retired D.C. policemen and firemen automatically obtain an increase in annuities proportionate to any increases in the pay of active-duty policemen and firemen. As a result, some of the retirees who would benefit from this bill already receive a larger annuity than the salaries they received when they were on active duty.

H.R. 2600 would not only increase the disparity between the group affected and other District Government employees, but would also create a new disparity within the police and firemen's retirement system by singling out one select group and ignoring other employees who retired prior to October 1, 1956, with less than 100% disability.

I am also seriously concerned that this bill would establish an unfortunate precedent for other retirees under the D.C. Policemen and Firemen's Retirement System, and also for those under other District of Columbia and Federal retirement systems.

All of us can be proud of the outstanding services which the District of Columbia's police and firemen have performed over the years. They deserve a just reward for their work, and today their disability and retirement benefit system is one of the finest and most generous in the country. It would not be in the public interest, however, to create special benefits for a small group of these men which would be unfair to the many other deserving persons in District Government.

RICHARD NIXON

The White House

August 17, 1971

Richard Nixon, Memorandum of Disapproval of Bill To Provide Increased Retirement Benefits to Totally Disabled District of Columbia Policemen and Firemen Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/240607

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