Markup Wrap Up: Oversight Committee Advances Several Bipartisan, Good Government Bills
Washington, May 25, 2021
By: Committee on Oversight and Reform Press Release
WASHINGTON—Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform passed four good governance bills, including the No CORRUPTION Act (H.R. 3327), the Performance Enhancement Reform Act (H.R. 2617), the Air America Act of 2021 (H.R. 1297), and the Gold Star Children Act (H.R. 3367).
“Making our government more effective, efficient, and accountable to the American people is a primary goal of the Oversight and Reform Committee,” said Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.). “With the Republican-led good government bills passed today, the Committee is stepping up to correct some of the failures of our federal government. We are ensuring corrupt and convicted Members of Congress do not receive taxpayer-funded pensions; requiring federal agencies use relevant stakeholders and resources for creating realistic performance plans; providing legally-owed retiree benefits to Cold War-era heroes who have been ignored for decades; and expanding federal government hiring preferences to include the children of fallen servicemembers. This is effective, bipartisan governing that the American people need from Congress.”
The No CORRUPTION Act—introduced by Subcommittee on the Environment Ranking Member Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), and Subcommittee on the Environment Chairman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)— prevents corrupt politicians who were convicted of a crime from exploiting a loophole to continue receiving pension payments earned while serving as a Member of Congress during an appeal process.
“It’s long overdue that Members of Congress start acting like every day Americans, not elitist politicians sheltered by their own rules. Americans would be outraged if they knew about the various perks that former Members of Congress receive. Taxpayers should not be left funding the pensions of corrupt politicians. That is why I am proud to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to stop just that. Ensuring that any member of Congress found guilty of certain crimes is no longer eligible to collect their pension is an important step towards draining ‘The Swamp.’ I look forward to watching this legislation progress in both the House and Senate,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Norman.
The Performance Enhancement Reform Act—introduced by Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)— requires key stakeholders and resources to be consulted as federal agencies draft their annual performance plans in order to create more realistic and resource-based performance goals.
“It’s common sense to always use all resources available to you in order to create the best product, but our federal agencies haven’t been doing that when creating performance plans. With the Performance Enhancement Reform Act, federal agencies will be required to better coordinate with agency leadership and better utilize resources—such as human capital, technology, and data—in order to not only set realistic goals, but also put agencies on a path to achieve them,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Hice.
The Air America Act of 2021 provides recognition and full federal employee benefits to former employees of Air America—which was owned and operated by the U.S. government to carry out covert Cold War flight operations. The bipartisan bill was introduced by Subcommittee on National Security Ranking Member Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) and Chairwoman Maloney.
“Congress has twice passed corrective legislation for other covert CIA-affiliated. It is not right that they have chosen to ignore Air Americans for so long. These patriots risked their lives, many of them giving their life, fighting communism in the same way members of the Air Force did. I am honored that so many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are joining me to support these heroes. I thank Chairwoman Maloney for holding a markup on this bill and urge Speaker Pelosi to soon hold a vote on the House floor. Hopefully, today is the beginning of the end of Air Americans’ long struggle to receive the recognition they deserve for their service to our country,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Grothman.
The Gold Star Children Act—introduced by Congressman Van Taylor (R-Texas)— expands the federal government’s hiring preferences to include the children of fallen and permanently disabled service members. When a service member dies in duty, their family becomes known as a Gold Star family.
The Committee also considered the Inspector General Independence and Empowerment Act (H.R. 2662). While Republicans support several inspector general reforms, they opposed the legislation because the Democrats included several provisions with which Republicans do not agree. Specifically, Republicans are concerned with provisions which hinder a duly elected President’s ability to decide to fire an inspector general and fill a vacancy as well as granting testimonial subpoena authority to all inspectors general which would cover contractors and former federal employees.
Republicans also opposed the Preventing Patronage System Act (H.R. 302), which overturns and prohibits President Trump’s creation of a Schedule F for federal employees working in policy-making positions. These employees serve in privileged positions and taxpayers must be able to hold them accountable for their actions. However, if there is no schedule F for these positions, taxpayers are unable to do so.