Senate Panel Advances Bill Denying Bonuses to Malfeasant Feds

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., introduced the bill. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., introduced the bill. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

A bill barring agencies from awarding bonuses to federal employees who have committed major infractions sailed through a Senate committee Wednesday morning.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send the Stop Improper Federal Bonuses Act (S. 696) to the full Senate for consideration.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would prohibit agency heads from awarding bonuses to employees who have committed a felony or violated a policy for which they could be removed or suspended for at least two weeks.  The prohibition would last five fiscal years after the adjudication of the infraction.

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And in the case of an employee who is found to have made serious infractions within a year of receiving a bonus, the fed would be required to return the money. An amendment, offered by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and accepted by the committee, would allow employees required to pay back a bonus to use payment plans to return the money in installments.

An employee deemed ineligible for bonuses would be able to submit an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

The bill is not the only legislation making its way through Congress that targets the bonuses of employees who have engaged in misconduct. The 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Accountability Act, introduced last week and considered Wednesday in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, includes a provision to revoke bonuses paid to employees if they are found to have engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to the award.  

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