IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Rep. Kelly Champions Government Employee Accountability Act on House Floor

Aug 1, 2013 Issues: Government Oversight and Reform
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Rep. Kelly Champions Government Employee  Accountability Act on House Floor

Rep. Kelly: “This is about reinforcing the responsibility of those who work for the American taxpayer.”

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WASHINGTON — Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday in support of H.R. 2579, the Government Employee Accountability Act, which he introduced on June 28, 2013, with 21 original co-sponsors. The legislation would give all federal agencies the mechanisms necessary for agency heads to effectively deal with delinquent Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, including the ability to conduct “investigative leave without pay” and to carry out immediate termination.

Highlights from Rep. Kelly’s floor remarks:

“Go back to February 6th, 1788, and James Madison said to us, ‘If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.’ … Madison is still alive, and he’s alive on both sides of the aisle.”

“What amazes me sometimes is how we get so far away from what it is that we’re trying to do and who it is that we’re trying to protect. … When I come out of my church on Sunday morning – out of St. Paul’s, the eight o’clock Mass – I see all kinds of people who work for America. When I’m down at the K-Mart doing my shopping, I see all kinds of people who work for America. When I’m in Erie, Pennsylvania, I see all kinds of people who work for America. The same in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and the same in Butler, Pennsylvania.”

“Now the question is, who looks after those people, those taxpayers, when there’s an abuse? My goodness, have we gotten to the point where our only concern is for those who get a check that says it came from the United States government?”

“This is common sense for America. If we cannot protect those who sent us here, if we cannot restore the trust of those who sent us here; if we’re going to come here and debate and make a mockery and spin it to the point where it confuses the American people — this is not about taking anybody’s rights away. This is about reinforcing the responsibility of those who work for the American taxpayer. And that is all of us, both Republican and Democrat.”

“There is no way I’ll ever go back to Northwest Pennsylvania and tell them, ‘You just don’t get it … you don’t understand how our government works.’ … You know what the American people are telling us? ‘I don’t believe you anymore. I don’t trust you anymore. I don’t understand why I can be held accountable for everything I do, but other folks that work for me can do pretty much anything they want.’”

“What I want to do is give those managers of those agencies [such as the IRS and GSA] the tools that they have requested of us in Congress; give them the ability to hold people accountable. Who am I talking about? I’m talking about the senior executives. I’m not talking about every gal and guy who walks into an office every day that does great work for the American people. Let’s not get confused.”

“If we don’t understand what Madison said – and we are truly not ruled by angels, we know that – we are obliged to put in elements that … force us to do the right thing for the American taxpayers and those men and women who get up every day, throw their feet out over the bed, and go to work. And you know why they do it? Because they love their families and love their country and they know they have to do it.”

“People tell me, ‘You know, Kelly, the problem is you don’t understand.’ I say, ‘No, no, no. The problem is I do understand — I just don’t agree. I understand it so well that if we don’t right these wrongs, this great, great country will never be what it’s supposed to be. And for us to sit here as a body and allow it to happen and say, ‘You know what? Too tough a vote! … Some people are not going to like me for this… I may not get elected the next time,’ I just say, ‘You know what? Get a stomach, get a stronger back, and do what’s right for America.’ This is about what’s right for the true Americans that keep this great organization going and that is the American taxpayers.”

“‘If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary’ — isn’t it amazing that over 225 years ago, the same thing rings true today. If it were really angels that were running the organization, we wouldn’t be having these conversations, and we would just go ahead with every day and think, ‘It’s alright.’ We’re not — we’re ruled by men. Men make mistakes. Men need to be held accountable when they make a mistake. And I want to make sure that each of us – no matter what party you represent – is able to go to your home district and say, ‘I did what was right for you today. I did what was right for you, your children, your grandchildren. I did what was right for America.’”

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