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McCarthy, Reed Call for Reopening of Federal Offices to Support the American People

Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Ranking Member Tom Reed (NY-23), and 13 Members across the country sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the U.S. General Services Administration to express concerns regarding current staffing levels at federal offices throughout the country. They demanded that the Biden Administration work with federal agencies and departments to immediately and safely reopen existing federal offices, especially those that offer in-person services that cannot currently be replicated virtually, in the interest of all Americans. 

Highlights are below, or you can read the letter in its entirety here:

“We understand the critical need to ensure the health and safety of federal employees throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely distributed and states, localities, and businesses begin to resume pre-COVID operations, it is time for the federal government to also reopen its offices throughout the country…

“A top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to federal office reopening plans is both unreasonable and unnecessary, especially as states and cities across the country – from California to New York to Washington, D.C. – lift pandemic-related closures, allowing for a return to normalcy… 

“As countless constituents of ours have confirmed, the federal government’s current service offerings simply cannot match those that were previously being provided in-person. If agency heads are required to bend to the whims of union bosses before reopening offices, as the Task Force appears to be requiring, our constituents, for example, will continue to be required to mail in vital documents – such as birth certificates and drivers licenses – to the SSA for an unknown period of time in order to access their Social Security benefits… 

“Any further delays to reopening SSA field offices, as well as other critical in-person services provided by the federal government, will only worsen the state of the SSA benefits backlog and continue to result in real-life consequences for America’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

“As the Task Force collaborates with federal agencies and departments on federal workforce reentry and post-reentry plans, we call on you to support, develop, and approve plans that allow resumption of in-person work as soon as possible in order for the federal government to best serve the American people.”

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