A group of lawmakers have introduced legislation that would require all federal employees who are fully vaccinated to return to in-person work at their agency offices.
The Having Employees Return to Duty Act of 2021 (HERD) (S. 3095) would mandate all federal employees, with the exception of the Department of Defense, that are complying with President Biden’s mandatory vaccinations Executive Order to return to their duty station and the hours they were working prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and is co-sponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).
The lawmakers are introducing the legislation because they have heard from many of their constituents who are frustrated with difficulty getting services from federal agency offices that are either closed or have limited hours, among them the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, National Personnel Records office, Veteran’s Affairs offices, U.S. Department of State Visa Processing Center and the Western Passport Center.
“It’s long past time for federal workers to be back in the office helping the people of Wyoming, and constituents across the United States. There is a huge casework backlog, and that is negatively impacting our veterans, our seniors, our business owners and American citizens,” said Senator Lummis. “It’s time to put aside politics, follow the science and get back to work. Americans across the country have been returning to in-person work, and the federal bureaucrats who work for them should do the same.”
Senator Rounds noted, “From obtaining drought assistance from the Farm Service Agency to receiving military service documents from the National Personnel Records Center, South Dakotans are experiencing lengthy delays at our federal agencies. I have heard directly from South Dakotans whose applications and requests are on the back burner as some federal agencies are not fully staffed and have not returned to the office. These delays result in real-world consequences for those who obtain VA or Social Security benefits, receive a federal tax return and look for immigration help. It is time for all federal workers to return to their work stations to fix ongoing backlogs and serve the needs of our constituents.”
Senator Blackburn added, “Tennesseans have spent the past 18 months showing up to work and keeping America running. Now, it’s time for bureaucrats in the federal government to do the same.”