WASHINGTON- The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today passed three accountability and performance related bills: two targeting seriously tax delinquent federal employees, grantees, and contractors, and the third expanding the probationary period for newly hired federal employees.
“The bills we reported today further the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s core mission of ensuring that money Washington takes from taxpayers is well spent, and contributes to an efficient and effective government,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the committee.
H.R. 829, the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2011, was introduced February 28,2011 by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, passed on a voice vote. The bill prohibits any person who has a seriously delinquent tax debt from obtaining a federal government contract or grant. The Committee accepted an amendment from Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., which would require an agency to notify Congress if a waiver to this law is granted.
H.R. 828, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2011, also introduced by Rep. Chaffetz, passed on a voice vote. The bill makes an individual who has a seriously delinquent tax debt ineligible to be appointed, or to continue serving, as a federal employee. Chaffetz introduced an amendment in the nature of a substitute which exempted uniformed military personnel from this act. The committee also adopted an amendment on a voice vote from Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., that would require a notice period before personnel action is taken by an agency, among other technical changes to protect due process. Mr. Chaffetz and Mr. Lynch negotiated a notice period of 60 days notice at the markup.
Both of these bills define “seriously delinquent tax debt” as an outstanding tax debt for which a notice of lien has been filed in public record. Please note this does not include a debt being paid in a timely manner or a debt with respect to which a collection due process hearing is requested or pending.
H.R. 1470, a bill extending the probationary period for federal employees to not less than two years, passed on a recorded vote of 17-14. The probationary period is currently set via regulation at one year. The bill was introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who chairs the subcommittee on Federal Workforce, the Postal Service, and Labor Policy. Rep. Ross introduced an amendment in the nature of a substitute which specified that only new hires would have the probationary period and that the bill would not apply to preference eligible veterans. H.R. 1470 is supported by the National Council of Social Security Management Associations, FAA Managers Association, Federal Managers Association, Senior Executives Association, and the Professional Managers Association.