Oversight Committee Advances Bills to Cut Travel Waste, Sell Excess Federal Property, and Hold Tax Evading Federal Workers and Contractors Accountable

Published: Mar 20, 2013

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee adopted several bills designed to cut waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars.
“Taxpayers have lost all faith that their government has respect for their hard earned money,” said Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “These reforms will cut back on wasteful spending, and hold federal employees and contractors who refuse to pay their taxes accountable.”
The Committee adopted these four bills by voice vote:
·         H.R. 249, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013– introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. Tax delinquent federal workers owe a total of $1 billion in federal taxes. H.R. 249 would not only terminate the employment of current tax delinquent federal employees, but would also prohibit the hiring of future federal employees who already have a seriously delinquent tax debt.
·         H.R. 882, the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013– introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported that government contractors owed over $5 billion in unpaid federal taxes. H.R. 882 would mandate tax compliance as a prerequisite for receiving a federal contract. Similar legislation was also introduced in the 110th Congress by then-Senator Barack Obama.
·         H.R. 313, the Government Spending Accountability Act of 2013– introduced by former Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and managed by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. The legislation caps federal non-military travel spending and requires detailed itemized report of federal conference spending. The Committee accepted an amendment which would require an agency head to issue a waiver for international conferences that would exceed the attendance cap, and an amendment to establish a minimum threshold for detailed conference reporting.
·         H.R. 328, the Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act of 2013– introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in 2010 the federal government held 77,700 buildings identified as either not utilized or underutilized and spent $1.67 billion dollars operating and maintaining them. H.R. 328 creates a five-year pilot program that expedites the disposal of the most profitable properties, by removing red tape and increasing transparency through creating an online database for all property owned by the federal government.  Additionally, the bill would permanently modernize the existing disposal process by reducing administrative overhead, creating new agency incentives, and requiring greater accountability from federal agencies.
A total of thirteen bills are being considered at today’s ongoing business meeting, which can be viewed live here