An amendment offered by Rep. Birmingham to an old age pension bill lowered the age to qualify for pension benefits from 70 years to 65 years for men and 60 years for women. The House approved Birmingham’s amendment by a vote of 117 to 109 and then passed the amended bill by a vote of 202 to 27 on May 12, the Boston Herald reported (May 13, 1930, p. 4, via Genealogy Bank).
In pushing for amendment’s adoption, Birmingham argued that a 65-year-old man would be unable to get a job and would have to go to the poor house as a result. He also predicted that if the Republicans failed to pass the measure, they would be voted out of office in the next election and the Democrats would pass an old age pension bill in the next legislative session.
The bill as passed by the committees on pensions and ways and means provided old age pension benefits for people of 70 years of age and older.
Rep. Henry L. Shattuck of Boston opposed the Birmingham amendment, arguing that people under 70 could get assistance under present law. The cost of lowering the age would cost $3 million, one-third coming from the state. He argued that no other state provides old age pensions to people as young as 65 years of age.
Rep. Clarence S. Luitweiler of Newton also came out against the Birmingham amendment. He expressed his opposition to any noncontributory pension.
Another amendment, offered by Rep. John Halliwell of New Bedford, deleted a provision from the committees-passed version that would have directed the boards of public welfare to give consideration to the ability of “kindred” to support old age pensions beneficiaries before awarding payments. That amendment was adopted by voice vote.
The bill was expected to go to the Senate for concurrent action, the Herald reported.