Oversight Committee Passes Legislation to Expand D.C.’s Autonomy, Protect the Health of Federal Employees
Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after the Committee voted favorably to approve the District of Columbia Home Rule Expansion Act, the Chai Suthammanont Healthy Federal Workplaces Act of 2022, and several other bills to improve government operations:
“I am pleased that the Committee approved the District of Columbia Home Rule Expansion Act. Throughout my career, I have supported efforts to grant D.C. statehood, a move long overdue for the taxpaying residents of the District. The Committee’s passage of the District of Columbia Home Rule Expansion Act is an important step towards granting D.C. the autonomy it deserves, and to stop D.C. from being hamstrung by the federal government,” Chairwoman Maloney stated.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of federal employees is more important now than ever. I am also proud that today the Committee passed the Chai Suthammanont Healthy Federal Workplaces Act, in honor of Chai and the federal workers who continued to provide essential government services amid the global pandemic. This bill will provide greater transparency over federal agencies’ plans to prepare for future public health emergencies.”
Granting D.C. Greater Autonomy to Enact Legislation and Prosecute Crimes
The Committee approved the District of Columbia Home Rule Expansion Act, introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, which will empower D.C. to act independently in enacting legislation, prosecuting D.C. crimes, and granting clemency for D.C. crimes. The bill would:
- Grant D.C. the sole authority to prosecute all D.C. crimes committed under D.C. law.
- Grant D.C. the exclusive authority to grant clemency for all D.C. crimes committed under D.C. law.
- Eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. legislation.
The Chai Suthammanont Healthy Federal Workplaces Act of 2022
The Committee approved the Chai Suthammanont Healthy Federal Workplaces Act, introduced by Government Operations Subcommittee Chairman Gerald E. Connolly along with Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Shontel Brown. The bill directs federal agencies to create a comprehensive safety plan to protect employees, and continue operations, in the event of a nationwide public health emergency declared for an infectious disease. Specifically, the Chai Suthammanont Healthy Federal Workplaces Act would:
- Require each federal agency to develop and maintain a plan that details public health protocols the agency will take during a declaration. The plan must include guidelines for testing, cleaning, occupancy limits, use of personal protective equipment, notification of individuals who may have been exposed, and protections for employees who travel off-site.
- Require each agency to publish the safety plan on its website and communicate its plan to employees, contractors, and subcontractors.
- Ensure accountability and oversight by requiring the Office of the Inspector General for each agency to report to Congress on plan implementation. The Government Accountability Office would also issue a report on the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve future protocols.
Improving Federal Government Operations
The Committee approved the Disaster Planning Resiliency Act, introduced by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters and Senator Rick Scott. The bill would require federal agencies to incorporate natural disaster risk assessments into property asset management and investment decisions.
The Committee also approved the Metropolitan Areas Protection and Standardization (MAPS) Act, introduced by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters and Ranking Member Rob Portman. The bill ensures that the distribution of federal services, benefits, and resources is based on accurate population data regarding metropolitan statistical areas. The bill also requires that relevant agencies undergo a thorough review process, including issuing a public report, before updating standards that would affect the distribution of federal services.
Promoting Gender Equity at the National Archives
The Committee approved the bipartisan National Archives and Records Administration Modernization Act, introduced by Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ro Khanna and Ranking Member Yvette Herrell, as well as Reps. Katie Porter, Byron Donalds, and Danny Davis. The bill will amend the U.S. Code to remove pronouns in references to the Archivist of the United States and others.
Resolution of Inquiry
The Committee voted to report unfavorably Ranking Member James Comer’s resolution of inquiry requesting that President Biden transmit documents to the House of Representatives relating to members of the President’s family and other individuals and businesses.