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Ernst: Deck the Agency Halls with Federal Workers

Folks, it’s not the night before Christmas just yet, but through the halls of Washington, not a creature is stirring – not even a mouse.

That’s because federal employees have dashed away and disappeared into the night.

It’s been nearly four years since COVID-19 “temporarily” closed federal buildings, yet today, not a single government agency is occupying even half of their office space.

The Biden administration doesn’t want the public to see the naughty list of no-shows, but in the spirit of the holiday season and holding bureaucrats accountable, I’ll share! Topping the list are the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), both of which are using just seven percent of their space.

HUD’s abandoned building is a sad symbol of the failure of the Biden administration. Under Bidenflation, buying and renting is a whole lot more expensive, and instead of getting the homeless off the streets, no one is even home at HUD.

SSA is another tragic story. Despite being largely empty, the building is undergoing a $150 million renovation to accommodate 33 percent more people. Meanwhile, more than a million Americans are waiting for their disability claims to be processed by the agency! The wait time to actually talk to someone on the phone has increased from 10 minutes a decade ago to 36 minutes today.

While this might read like a Christmas carol, I’ve been singing this song all year long!

In August, I called for investigations into 24 federal departments and agencies to determine how telework has affected the delivery and response times of their services. Following my continuous advocacy, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced it would downsize 3.5 million square feet of federal buildings, which will save taxpayers over $1 billion.

Then, in October, my amendment to hold the Biden administration accountable for the consequences of continued remote work by Washington bureaucrats was unanimously approved by the Senate. This effort will give Americans access to information about the financial and environmental costs of maintaining empty offices as well as the impact remote work is having on the response times of government services.

Although these were steps in the right direction, Iowa taxpayers simply shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for any empty federal buildings. Forgive me for sounding like the Grinch, but this Christmas, I’m calling on Biden’s bureaucrats to deck all the agency halls with federal workers or sell off unused space. Until they do, I’ll continue working to right-size federal real estate and increase accountability for telework abuse.

It’s clear nobody is home at Biden’s federal agencies. If bureaucrats don’t want to show up to work, let’s sell their fancy offices and ‘keep the change, ya filthy animal!’