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Ernst Calls Out Federal Bureaucrats Phoning it in, While Taxpayers are on Hold

Demands Accountability for Federal Agencies Abusing Remote Work on the Taxpayer’s Dime

WASHINGTON – Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is calling on federal bureaucrats to return to work in the midst of increased wait times for public services while taxpayers are also picking up the cost of maintaining mostly emptybuildings in Washington.

To hold Washington accountable, Ernst is requesting an investigation of every major department and agency to determine the impact of telework on the delivery and response times of services, how much taxpayer money could be saved by consolidating unused office space, and what steps have been taken to adjust bureaucrats’ location-based salaries for those who have relocated and chosen to remain out of the office. Ernst would also like to know what the actual worksite attendance rate is for government employees at each agency.

“Growing up on a farm, I know what working from home actually means,” Senator Joni Ernst said. “It’s not fair to let the responsibilities of running an agency—and the country—fall on the shoulders of the hardworking public servants who are showing up while others are out golfing on the taxpayer’s dime. Frustrated Americans are being put on hold while too many federal employees are phoning it in. I’m calling out federal employees who refuse to answer the call of duty to return to work on behalf of taxpayers, veterans, seniors, and our great nation. It’s time to get back to work.”

Ernst is urging federal workers to get back to work because:

  • Thousands of calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs from veterans seeking mental health services are going unanswered;
  • Desperate travelers are waiting hours on the phone or in line hoping to speak with someone at the State Department about passport delays that are causing vacation cancellations; and
  • Seniors calling the Social Security Administration are increasingly being greeted with busy messages, waiting longer to speak to a representative, or having their calls go unanswered altogether as the agency shifts towards remote work.