New bill aimed at ending telework for federal employees gets pushback

The Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems, known as the “SHOW UP” Act is aimed at getting federal workers back in the office, sparking reaction from opponents.

“People have said it’s kind of a push in the wrong direction,” Drew Friedman, with Federal News Network, said.

The bill would give agencies 30 days to get employees back in the office. Republican leaders have expressed concerns about backlogs within certain agencies, including the IRS and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Republican Rep. James Comer, the new Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, is behind the bill, and he has also called into question why the General Services Administration administrator, Robin Carnahan, has taken part in remote work since assuming the role.

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The American Federation of Government Employees union represents 700,000 federal employees and has since issued a statement, saying Congress should focus on better pay and benefits.

“Instead, we see message bills like the SHOW UP Act that denigrate the federal workforce and undermine recruitment and retention,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said.

AFGE said that since 2020, telework has saved the government $180 million, adding, “government employees show up for work every day — whether they’re working in an office, hospital, prison, military base, or from their homes … anyone who suggests otherwise is deliberately misleading the American public.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is also calling on the White House to allow the conversion of government buildings into housing to increase affordable units, saying during her inaugural address, “That’s a bold goal, but the fact is, no matter what we do, it won’t be fast enough without the help of the White House.”

Bowser went on to say, “we need decisive action by the White House to either get most federal workers back to the office most of the time or to realign their vast property holdings for use by the local government, by nonprofits, by businesses and by any user willing to revitalize it.”

The possibility of the bill passing with a democratic senate is unlikely, but Friedman said the push to end telework is a sign of where Republicans may put their focus.

“This is something that is high on Republicans’ to-do list. We’re just going to see how the committee hearings play out,” Friedman said.

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