Rep. McCarthy Wants Answers: How Many Federal Workers, Including Lawmakers, 'Are Actually Working'?

By Susan Jones | December 9, 2021 | 6:39am EST
Empty offices in a federal building in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
Empty offices in a federal building in Washington, D.C. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

( - House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says he's written a letter to the Biden administration, asking why so many federal workers are still at home and not in the office.

"How many people are telecommuting, or how many people are actually working, because it's not working for the American public," McCarthy told Fox News's Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night:

"Let me give you one example. In the V.A., there's more than 256,000 veteran benefit claims -- think about that -- that are backlogged. The IRS in a recent report shows they only answered the phone 14 percent of the time.

"But you've got the White House bragging about the federal workforce...92 percent have had one dosage of the vaccine. So if they've been vaccinated, why can't they get back to work?"

McCarthy noted that the same thing is happening in the House Democrat Caucus:

Do you know there are members of the Democratic Caucus, from the moment they put in proxy voting here back in May 2020 that have only been back one time. Why? The vote for speaker. And then they've never been back again," McCarthy said.

I went to court, and hopefully we might hear this week or next week what the Supreme Court's going to do with it. But I've been challenging it all the way.

Never in the history Congress, no matter whether it was the Civil War or whatever battle's before us, Congress always met. We should lead by example. But these people have always been paid. They're getting paid, but they never show up to work.

In May 2020, McCarthy and dozens of his Republican colleagues challenged the House Democrats' plan to institute proxy voting during the pandemic.

He noted that the House would be breaking more than 230 years of precedent. "This is not simply arcane parliamentary procedure. It is a brazen violation of the Constitution, a dereliction of our duty as elected officials, and would silence the American people’s voice during a crisis," he said at the time.

After a federal appeals court dismissed the case, McCarthy turned to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to overturn "Speaker Pelosi's perpetual proxy voting power grab."

"Although the Constitution allows Congress to write its own rules, those rules cannot violate the Constitution itself, including the requirement to actually assemble in person," McCarthy said on Sept. 9, 2021.

Since its adoption 14 months ago, proxy voting has shattered 231 years of legislative precedent and shielded the majority from substantive policy debates and questions, effectively silencing the voices of millions of Americans.

It was a raw abuse of power from the beginning that was done despite unified opposition from the minority and even members of the majority. Its continuation is an insult to hard working taxpayers who are back at work safely while members of Congress get a pass to skip work but still get paid. Some members have barely voted in person for more than a year.

The Founders wisely rejected proxy voting because they knew Congress cannot adequately “do the business” of our chambers without deliberating, and we cannot adequately deliberate without assembling in person. The Senate has managed through the whole pandemic without proxy voting because they know, as we do, that it is unconstitutional. To restore the House to its proper legislative role, the Supreme Court must strike down proxy voting.

Last month, the Office of Personnel Management released a new telework and remote work guide for federal agencies.

"As we look to the future, OPM is encouraging agencies to strategically leverage workplace flexibilities such as telework, remote work, and alternative/flexible work schedules as tools to help attract, recruit, and retain the best possible workforce," the guide says.

According to OPM: "A robust and well-practiced telework program improves employee performance and engagement and supports mission productivity and efficiency. Telework can serve as a critical workplace flexibility that enables agencies to meet mission-critical needs of the organization. And it can help Federal workers balance work and personal responsibilities and make use of beneficial work environments, thereby enhancing employee satisfaction and wellbeing, aiding retention, and serving as a draw to potential applicants."

Also See:
Rep. Jim Banks: ‘Infuriating’ That So Many Federal Employees Are Still Working From Home

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