A House oversight committee passed two bills Wednesday targeting federal employees and contractors who are delinquent on their taxes, sending both pieces of legislation to the House floor for a full vote.
The 2013 Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act would allow the government to fire federal employees who fail to pay their taxes. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, revived the bill, which he shepherded thorough the House in the previous session of Congress. Last session’s legislation died in the Senate.
Nearly 312,000 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back taxes in 2011, marking a 12 percent jump in delinquent feds from 2010. Overall, 3.2 percent of federal workers owed back taxes, 5 percent lower than the general population.
Chaffetz also co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., that would prohibit the government from awarding a contract to any individual who has significant outstanding tax debt. The bill authorizes the Treasury Department to disclose tax information on a prospective contract recipient.
An identical bill made it out of committee in the 112th Congress, but was never taken up on the House floor. Then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., sponsored a similar bill in 2007.
President Obama signed an executive order in 2010 to block contracts to tax-delinquent individuals.