06.19.19

Senator David Perdue Leads Effort To Restore Accountability In Government

“With a $22 trillion debt crisis, we cannot afford to hold onto bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) is leading efforts to cut government waste and ensure the highest performing federal employees are serving the American people.

Senator Perdue, along with U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS), reintroduced the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act, which would modernize the civil service system by expediting the dismissal of underperforming employees to keep pace with changing workforce needs. Companion legislation was introduced by U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11) in the House of Representatives on June 19, 2019.

“Government employees should be held to the same standards as private sector employees, yet it is nearly impossible to fire bureaucrats for failing to do their jobs,” said Senator Perdue. “Right now, it can take more than a year to fire or replace a civil service employee, even for poor performance or misconduct. With a $22 trillion debt crisis, we cannot afford to hold onto bureaucrats who aren’t doing their jobs. Since President Trump took office, more than 4,300 bad actors have been fired, demoted, or suspended at the VA. It’s time to expand those efforts and address problems across the entire federal government.”

“Working for the United States federal government is an honor and privilege, and most federal employees cherish this opportunity and desire to serve the American people,” said Congressman Loudermilk. “Unfortunately, many underperforming federal employees feel entitled to their positions and treat them as their right. The solution to this issue is the MERIT Act. I thank my friend and colleague, Senator Perdue, for leading the charge on this important reform.”

“The federal government works first and foremost to serve the American taxpayer,” said Senator Blackburn. “It is important that federal agencies have the ability to adequately discipline and dismiss poorly performing government employees who fail to live up to standards. The MERIT Act will lead to greater efficiency and more accountability on behalf of American taxpayers.”

“As a job creator for 40 years, Washington’s bizarro-world process for routine personnel changes is just one more example of why Main Street works and D.C. is in chaos,” said Senator Braun. “Washington is drowning in a swamp of bureaucracy, and I’m happy to join fellow job creator Senator David Perdue in taking a firm step toward draining it with the MERIT Act.”

“Whether in the private sector or in government work, employees should succeed and fail based on merit,” said Senator Cotton. “Our bill will introduce a new level of accountability for civil service employees, one that ensures agencies can take appropriate measures against bad actors.” 

“The American people deserve high-performing and effective federal employees,” said Senator Grassley. “Unfortunately, that’s not always what they get. Although most federal employees work hard to do their jobs well, some government employees chronically display poor performance or misconduct, and get away with it due to the current byzantine process for removing an employee. The MERIT Act would fix this problem by holding poor-performing bureaucrats accountable for their actions. I’m happy to support this long-overdue legislation.”

“Citizens should be able to trust that their government is staffed by qualified individuals who maintain a high level of professionalism and respect for their duties to the American people,” said Senator Wicker. “The MERIT Act would build on reforms Congress passed last session for the Department of Veterans Affairs and enable agencies across the entire civil service system to work more efficiently.”

The MERIT Act will:

  • Streamline the process and shorten the amount of time required to remove underperforming employees.
  • Permit agencies to remove a senior executive for performance reasons, rather than merely demote them.
  • Limit retirement benefits of employees who are removed from their position due to a felony conviction related to their official duties.
  • Authorize agencies to recoup bonuses and awards when performance or conduct issues are discovered.
  • Extend the probationary period for competitive appointments and promotions from one year to two years so that there is adequate time to evaluate a new employee.
  • Curb the ability to use intermediaries to overrule or undermine Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) precedent.
  • Uphold critical whistleblower protections.

Click here for full text of the MERIT Act.

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