Oversight Committee Passes Legislation to Bolster Federal Government Commitment to Address Climate Change
Washington, D.C. (December 2, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after the Committee voted favorably to approve her bill, the Federal Agency Climate Planning, Resilience, and Enhanced Preparedness (PREP) Act, as well as several other bills to improve federal government operations and reduce the number of vacancies in the D.C. courts.
“The alarm bells are ringing. We are in a ‘code red for humanity’ in this global climate crisis and we must take action now to mitigate the effects before it’s too late,” Chairwoman Maloney stated. “I am proud that today, the Committee passed my bill, the Federal Agency Climate PREP Act, to make sure the federal government— the largest employer in the nation and biggest purchaser of goods and services in the world—is a strong partner in mitigating the impacts of the worsening climate crisis. As we face stronger hurricanes, dangerous wildfires, and catastrophic floods, our communities can no longer wait for action.”
Ensuring the Federal Government is a Strong Partner in Combatting the Climate Crisis
Introduced by Chairwoman Maloney, the Federal Agency Climate PREP Act takes a critical step to ensure that climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience are integrated into every aspect of government operations. Specifically, the Federal Agency Climate PREP Act would:
- Require each federal agency to develop and maintain a climate action plan. Climate action plans include agency efforts to reverse the disproportionate impacts of climate change on frontline communities.
- Establish an interagency council focused on coordinating and tracking implementation of federal actions on climate change preparedness, mitigation, and resilience. The council will be advised by environmental justice experts and will work alongside state and local governments, academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors to help identify how and where the federal government should deploy its resources.
- Codify the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy responsible for coordinating, monitoring, and implementing the policymaking process related to domestic climate policy issues.
Improving Federal Government Operations
The Committee approved the Federal Agency Customer Experience (FACE) Act, introduced by Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. The bill directs certain public-facing agencies to collect voluntary feedback from agency customers so they can be more responsive and accountable. The bill also requires the voluntary customer feedback be made publicly available.
The Committee also approved the State and Local Digital Services Act, introduced by Chairman Connolly and Rep. Anna Eshoo. The bill would require GSA, in consultation with the U.S. Digital Service, to establish a Digital Service Agreement Program to provide state, local, and tribal governments with an initial investment to establish digital service teams to improve the way localities deliver public services.
Additionally, the Committee approved the Strengthening the Office of Personnel Management Act, introduced by Chairman Connolly. Following the Trump Administration’s unsuccessful attempt to eliminate the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the bill would ensure the agency is free from politicization and focused on attracting and retaining a talented and diverse federal workforce.
Reducing Vacancies in D.C. Courts
The Committee approved the District of Columbia Courts Vacancy Reduction Act, introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton. D.C. judges are subject to Senate confirmation under current law but are often not prioritized for consideration by the Senate, resulting in high number of vacancies that make it difficult for the courts to manage caseloads. The bill would remove Senate approval for D.C. judges and instead give Congress a 30-day period in which to pass a joint resolution of disapproval on District judicial nominees—the same mechanism Congress uses to review laws passed by the D.C. Council.
The Committee also passed several postal naming measures for United States Postal Service facilities across the country.