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Tipsheet

House Votes on Whether to Send Workers Back to the Office Post Covid

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The Covid-19 pandemic is over. Things are back to normal, people are back to living their everyday lives sans mandates. However, besides the control of power, Democrats are still holding on to one aspect of the country shutting down. 

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In a 221-206 vote, the bill, titled Stopping Home Office Work's Unproductive Problems or SHOW UP Act, passed on Wednesday with just three Democrats voting in favor of it. 

205 Democrats voted against a Republican bill that would require federal workers to return to their offices, ending a Covid policy that allows for telework. 

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), who introduced the bill, said that the policy has severely affected the government's productivity. 

"President Biden's unnecessary expansion of telework crippled the ability of departments and agencies to fulfill their responsibilities and created cumbersome backlogs," Comer said in a statement. "The federal government exists to serve the American people and these substantial delays for basic services are unacceptable." 

Comer continued to say that federal workers are failing the American people, arguing that working from home does not make employees more efficient. 

"Federal agencies are falling short of their missions… they are not carrying out their duties," Comer argued. "They have waited for months for their tax returns from the IRS… they have waited for months for the Social Security Administration to answer their questions and provide their benefits. Our veterans have even waited for months to get their medical records from the National Archives."

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On the contrary, Democrats strongly believe telework is needed, arguing against the idea that people who work from home are not actually working when they are supposed to. 

"We strongly oppose this bill, which is an assault on all the progress we have made over the last several years in telework policy," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said. "Telework has strengthened private and public workplaces across the land, enhanced productivity, increased efficiency, improved the morale and satisfaction of the workforce, reduced traffic congestion, and made positive environmental changes." 

Before the pandemic, about three percent of federal employees worked from home. Now, roughly 46 percent work from home, at least part-time. 

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