Efforts under way to stop federal scandals

August 7, 2013

If you are like me, you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of government scandals and abuse. In fact, I bet a majority of Americans are tired of the charade in Washington. The recent use of federal programs and regulations to favor political allies and punish opponents raises serious questions about the administration’s commitment to a pillar of liberty- that all should be treated equally before the law. As the administration’s attempt to increase political power has been on full display the last few months, the House is taking action to stop the government abuse and rebuild the trust that many citizens have lost.

This past week, the U.S. House voted on 10 bills to control federal mismanagement. I proudly supported each bill and would like to highlight a few so you can be informed about how I am working to restrain runaway government and re-empower our citizens.

The Government Employee Accountability Act (H.R. 2579): Even when a senior federal official is under investigation for serious misconduct, agencies have little disciplinary recourse except to put them on paid leave, where he or she can continue to collect a paycheck for months or even years. This legislation empowers federal agencies to fire reckless employees on the spot, and stop those currently under investigation from receiving salaries paid for by the very public whose trust they abused. For too long federal employees have had the luxury of playing by different rules than hardworking men and women in the private sector.

Government Customer Service Improvement Act (H.R. 1660): Millions of Americans rely on the federal government for vital services, yet agencies often fall short of providing the level of customer service taxpayers expect. When trying to navigate the bureaucracy and cut through the red tape, it is the job of our federal agencies to provide helpful answers in a professional and timely manner. This legislation requires agencies to adopt customer service standards and to hold their organization and federal workers accountable.

Stop Targeting Our Politics IRS Act (H.R. 2565): In response to widespread perception that IRS employees were not held fully accountable for improper conduct affecting taxpayers, Congress enacted the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. The section provides that IRS employees can be terminated if there is a determination that the employee committed certain egregious acts. The Act lays out ten specific offenses that would warrant termination. The targeting of a taxpayer for political purposes is not mentioned. This legislation would simply add political targeting to the existing list of offenses for which IRS employees can be immediately terminated.

Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act (H.R. 2009): The IRS has a role in nearly 50 different aspects of Obamacare. Their involvement is so extensive they have established an office within the IRS just to implement Obamacare. When it comes to an individual’s personal health care decisions, no American should be required to answer to the IRS — an agency that has forfeited its claim to a reputation of integrity and impartiality. Legislation prevents the IRS from implementing any portion of Obamacare.

The efforts the House has made to ensure accountability and reinforce the rights of individuals and taxpayers are important steps in tipping the balance of power back to the people. We need a government that is responsive to taxpayers, not a government that hurts the very people it is supposed to serve.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson represents the 8th Congressional District. He can be reached at 704-786-1612.