Government Reform Package Advances

Published: Jul 7, 2016

Legislation spearheaded by Reps. Palmer, Meadows, Buck, Walberg, Walker, and Ross passes House

WASHINGTON, D.C.—This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4361, the Government Reform and Improvement Act (GRIA) sponsored by Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL). GRIA includes important good government reforms offered by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Mark Walker (R-NC), and Dennis Ross (R-FL).

Together, the package brings increased accountability, efficiency, and transparency to the federal government.

Key legislation included in H.R. 4361:

Federal Information Systems Safeguards Act of 2016 – Representative Gary Palmer (R-AL)

  • Clarifies that agency heads have the authority under the Federal Information Security Management Act to block websites on agency computer networks that could create a cybersecurity risk for the agency.
  • Ensures that the head of a federal agency does not just have the responsibility to secure the agency’s networks but also has the authority to do so, and without collective bargaining.

Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act – Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC)

  • Requires the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidelines no later than 90 days after the date of enactment that prohibit the access of a pornographic or other explicit web site from a federal computer.
  • Makes an exception for instances in which it is necessary to access the pornographic or explicit site for investigations.

Extension of Probationary Period for Career Employees Act – Representative Ken Buck (R-CO)

  • Extends the probationary period from one to two years for individuals appointed in the competitive service and for the initial appointments of managers or supervisors.

Senior Executive Service Accountability Act – Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI)

  • Extends the probationary period for the Senior Executive Service (SES) from one to two years.
  • Prohibits an SES employee removed for performance issues from retaining his or her higher rate of pay if that person is appointed to a lower civil service position.
  • Subjects SES employees to suspensions without pay for up to two weeks in cases of misconduct and provides for an expedited process for removal or transfer of a career appointee for misconduct or poor performance.

Midnight Rule Relief Act of 2016 – Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI)

  • Prohibits federal agencies from proposing or finalizing major midnight rules during the moratorium period.
  • Allows for exceptions if the president determines that a regulation is necessary during emergencies or for the national security of the United States.

Ditto Act of 2016 – Representative Mark Walker (R-NC)

  • Requires the Internal Revenue Service to maintain any record it obtains from a person and any records it generates related to that original record it obtained for at least three years.

To amend title 5, United States Code, to require that the Office of Personnel Management submit an annual report to Congress relating to the use of official time by Federal employees – Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL)

  • Requires agencies to furnish U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) official time data annually which, in turn, OPM is required to report to Congress.
  • Ensures that Congress receives timely information on official time usage, necessary for proper oversight to ensure accountability to the American taxpayer.