House Passes Republican Plan to Limit 'Out of Control Bureaucracy'

By Eric Katz

August 1, 2013

The House cleared a set of Republican-backed measures targeting federal employees Thursday after Democrats temporarily stalled the legislation on Wednesday.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the proposals would limit federal employee bonuses during sequestration, allow citizens to record conversations with feds without permission and permit agencies to fire or cease paying Senior Executive Service employees under investigation. They were lumped together into one bill, which passed with limited Democratic support.

The workforce legislation -- collectively titled the Stop Government Abuse Act -- was attached to measures to repeal the Affordable Care Act and reduce federal regulations.

Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., took to the House floor to express the need for the proposals to limit federal employees’ pay and workforce rights.

“This week, we are holding government accountable to [American citizens] by increasing transparency, cutting waste, and giving them new protections from an out-of-control bureaucracy,” Cantor said.

Democrats have repeatedly bashed the measures, which were originally considered as standalone bills Wednesday. Republicans tried to expedite the bills’ approval -- with Friday as the last legislative day before a five-week recess -- but had to pull the votes after failing to garner the two-thirds majority required to pass bills under a “suspension of the rules.”

“This is part of a reckless campaign to demonize federal employees,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Cantor said he was surprised by the Democrats’ opposition to the proposals.

“You have to ask: Why do they want to keep paying out hefty bonuses to well-compensated executives in these times of fiscal stress and economic restraint,” Cantor said. “Why is it that the opposition leaders want to keep paying senior federal officials who are under investigation for serious ethical wrongdoing? Why do they want to use taxpayer dollars to do that? It just defies logic.”

The bill was brought up for a vote Thursday after the House Rules Committee held a last-minute meeting Wednesday night, when it put forth the bills for consideration.

The House also passed a series of bills Wednesday -- with bipartisan support -- targeting conference spending and employees at the Internal Revenue Service as part of its “Stop Government Abuse Week.” 

By Eric Katz

August 1, 2013