T he House of Representatives passed a Republican bill Wednesday afternoon to require hundreds of thousands of federal employees to return to government offices, ceasing many of the work-from-home policies that were allowed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic .
Though the Stopping Home Office Work's Unproductive Problems or SHOW UP Act is unlikely to be signed into law, the measure adds to pressure on the Biden administration to force federal workers to get back into the office amid debate over the use of taxpayer funds and worsening government backlogs.
HOUSE GOP APPROVES BILL TO END THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY IMMEDIATELY
The measure passed in a 221-206 vote and would, if enacted, require federal employees to return to offices within 30 days, consistent with policies that were in place in December 2019 prior to the onset of the pandemic. Three Democrats voted in favor of the measure and one Republican voted against it.
The act would also have federal agencies submit a study looking at the effects telework had and require that any future telework policies be approved.
"President Biden’s unnecessary expansion of telework crippled the ability of departments and agencies to fulfill their responsibilities and created cumbersome backlogs," said Rep. James Comer (R-KY), who introduced the bill, in a statement. "The federal government exists to serve the American people and these substantial delays for basic services are unacceptable."
Comer has pointed to backlogs for veteran's assistance, passport applications, and tax refunds as examples of the ill effects telework has had.
Roughly 3% of federal employees teleworked daily prior to the pandemic. Now roughly 46% of federal workers are teleworking at least part of the time, according to a survey from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management released last year.
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Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has joined forces with those pushing Biden to suspend telework flexibilities, suggesting that the government should surrender office buildings in the district to repurpose as affordable housing units if Biden doesn't.
The legislation is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
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