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The Leader’s Floor Lookout: Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Here’s what to watch for on the House Floor today:
Showing Up For the American People    It is long overdue for federal employees to return to work in person. Veterans are having difficulties accessing their benefits and families are struggling to receive their tax returns because of the backlogs created by the Biden Administration’s expanded telework policies for federal bureaucrats. The federal government exists to serve the American people, and Congress is responsible for ensuring these federal agencies are correctly functioning. Even liberal D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser agrees that teleworking is a disaster. Before COVID-19, only three percent of federal employees teleworked each day. Now, Washington, D.C., has the highest work-from-home rate of any major city in the country. In her inaugural address, Mayor Bowser urged President Biden to have federal employees return to in-person work.   
Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer’s legislation, H.R. 139, the SHOW UP Act of 2023, would end teleworking for federal employees and require them to return to the office. The SHOW UP Act will:
  • Require federal agencies to return to 2019 pre-pandemic telework levels within 30 days.
  • Require federal agencies to complete and submit to Congress studies within six months detailing how pandemic-era telework levels impacted their missions — including adverse effects on customer service, network security, and costs for real property and locality pay.
  • Prevent federal agencies from permanently expanding telework without submitting to Congress telework plans certified by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that detail how remote work policies will: 
    • Substantially improve agency mission-performance;
    • Substantially lower agency costs for real property and locality pay; 
    • Ensure security for agency networks, data and records; 
    • Accelerate the dispersal of federal jobs across the nation and outside of Washington, D.C. 
If the American people are expected to show up to work, federal employees should be held to the same standard.
Ending the COVID-19 National Emergency    All across America, schools have reopened, mask mandates have been lifted, and the vast majority of workers have returned to the office. On Monday, President Biden caved to House Republicans.  On Friday, January 27, Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced that House Republicans would bring up legislation for a vote to immediately repeal the COVID-19 national emergency.  On Monday, January 30, President Biden informed Congress that he would end the COVID-19 national emergency on May 11, 2023.    
H.J. Res. 7, introduced by Congressman Paul Gosar, would end the COVID-19 national emergency declared on March 13, 2020. The National Emergencies Act was never intended to give the President endless and unlimited authority over the American people’s lives. It’s long past time to end this outdated and unnecessary national emergency.