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Rep. Loudermilk Works to Drain the Swamp

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) issued the following statement after he reintroduced the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement, and Transformation (MERIT) Act, H.R. 3348:
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) issued the following statement after he reintroduced the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement, and Transformation (MERIT) Act, H.R. 3348:

“Working for the United States federal government is an honor and privilege, and most federal employees are dedicated to serving the American people. Unfortunately, some federal employees have learned they can take advantage of this antiquated system and are using their positions for personal gain, or are consistently derelict in their duties. The current federal employment system unfairly protects these bad actors from dismissal, which allows them to game the system without fear of losing their jobs. The MERIT Act modernizes the federal employment system by instituting a more streamlined system of dismissal – much like what is used in the private sector. This system provides agency heads with the ability to remove underperforming or bad employees while ensuring high performing employees are in place to serve the American people."

Companion legislation was also introduced in the United States Senate by Senator David Perdue (R-GA).

"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.”

The MERIT Act is supported by several members in the United States House of Representatives, and some had this to say about its reintroduction:

"While most federal employees do exceptional work, it’s important that federal agencies be able to hold grossly underperforming employees accountable. The MERIT Act will ensure our nation has a strong federal workforce that works efficiently and transparently for the American people," said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI). "We have already seen similar legislation passed in a bipartisan manner to root out misconduct and poor performance at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and I am glad to cosponsor Rep. Loudermilk’s MERIT Act which will extend these practices to other areas of the civil service."

"Despite significant changes in workplace needs, the civil service system has been stuck in the past for far too long,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA). “We need real reform aimed at bringing the federal workforce into the modern age, and the MERIT Act, coupled with the MSPB Reauthorization Act, will do just that. Our civil service has been hindered by the painfully slow procedures and appeals process of the federal bureaucracy – so much so that it can take years for cases to work their way through the system. Both taxpayers and federal workers deserve a civil service system that rewards good actors while ensuring that poor performers can be quickly and effectively removed. As we work to create a culture of responsibility and transparency across government agencies, I am proud to stand behind the MERIT Act.”

MERIT Act Summary:

Addresses misconduct and poor performance: MERIT removes the duplicative process for removing poor performers and streamlines the process for removal or suspension of poor performers and bad actors.
Poor performing Senior Executives: While current law incentivizes agencies to merely demote poor performing senior executives, MERIT allows agencies to remove a senior executive from the civil service.
Recoupment of bonuses and awards: Authorizes agencies to order repayment of bonuses and awards when performance or conduct issues are discovered and is determined the bonus or award would not have been given had these issues been known.
Felonious Service: If an employee is found to have conducted a felony during their time in official duty, that period of service would be eliminated for purposes of any annuity computation.