A Florida congressman’s proposal to ensure convicted child molesters lose their federal pensions is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill as a top GOP leader announced his support for it.
Back in July, U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., brought out the “No Pensions for Pedophiles Act.” The bill would amend the Hiss Act to ensure federal contributions to pensions would be denied to individuals who are convicted of federal crimes connected to child molestation.
When he brought out the bill, Spano pointed to a case where a doctor in the federal service who is now serving time for sexually abusing children could receive up to $1.8 million through his pension.
“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports earlier this year surrounding the conviction of Stanley Patrick Weber,” Spano said. “He was a doctor at Indian Health Service hospitals who misused his position of trust and responsibility to sexually prey on vulnerable young boys. The reports highlighted his conviction for abusing two boys on a reservation in Montana, and he is now awaiting trial in a second similar case.
Spano’s bill got a boost at the end of last week when a key GOP leader threw his support behind it.
“People convicted of crimes involving the sexual abuse of children are among the most corrupt and harmful members of our society,” said U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., on Friday. “They should not be able to keep their jobs as federal employees and do not deserve federal pensions. We have a moral duty to protect our children. I am proud to cosponsor Rep. Spano’s important legislation, and add my voice to his strong message: the United States government will not fund the retirement of pedophiles.”
“There is simply no rationale for using taxpayer dollars to pay those who have inflicted so much pain and trauma on children. I am proud that so many of my colleagues recognize this unjust practice and are working with me to correct it,” Spano said.
So far, Spano has rounded up more than 20 House Republicans to cosponsor his bill including fellow members of the Florida delegation U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Bill Posey. The bill was sent to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee where it has sat since July. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.
First elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2012, Spano served three terms in the Legislature before running for state attorney general last year. When then U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., surprised the Florida political world by announcing his retirement from Congress, Spano left the attorney general’s race and ran for Congress. He is expected to be a top target for Democrats next year.