U.S. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA-10) told constituents in an email Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated several long standing problems and created more than a few new ones within the federal government.
“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for example, has a tremendous backlog of millions of income tax returns waiting to be processed, leading to lengthy delays in refunds and stimulus checks to many Americans. Another case is the State Department, which is taking 10 to 12 weeks to process even a simple passport application. Perhaps the worst example is the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), a little known but critical agency responsible for the military service records needed for veterans to receive care from the VA. As of April, the backlog for veterans’ records is roughly 500,000 and may take up to two years to clear. Unreal!” Hice wrote.
“The common thread between these agencies is that a huge portion of the workforce is not in the office! While many private sector employers have been shifting toward remote telework for years, the federal government was lagging far behind. Only around 3 percent of federal employees teleworked on a daily basis prior to the pandemic. By contrast, well over half of all federal employees moved to remote work during COVID-19, and most have not yet returned. The problem is that the federal government is not a lean, mean, easily adaptable machine.”
Hice said that nearly 40 percent of Americans are now vaccinated and that COVID-19 cases are at their lowest rate since last summer. He said there is no excuse to delay bringing federal employees back to work.
“Unfortunately, the Biden Administration has shown a total lack of urgency in returning federal agencies to a normal operating status,” Hice wrote.
“Because of this, I took matters into my own hands and sent a letter to the Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan calling for the federal workforce to return to the workplace. The federal government should be leading America out of the pandemic, not lagging behind the rest of the country!”
Hice announced in March that he wants to replace Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and will run for Raffensperger’s seat next year.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump, ina written statement, promptly endorsed Hice’s candidacy.
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