Davis Lauds Passage of Telework, Data Protection Bills
Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., ranking member and former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was "extremely pleased and proud" that legislation he cosponsored to encourage telework by federal employees has passed the House of Representatives.
"As a member of the House, I am glad to see legislation move forward that will save taxpayers money, increase productivity and improve the federal government's ability to function in crisis," said Davis, after the bill passed by voice vote on Tuesday. "As a member who represents the Washington area, I am excited about the opportunity to immediately and dramatically reduce traffic on our already-clogged roads."
Davis suggested four key improvements that strengthened the legislation. One provides for stronger language to ensure the information that travels to the home computers of teleworkers is kept secure. Another requires agencies to ensure mission-critical employees can telework in the event of disaster. The third places responsibility for establishing best practices with chief human capital officers in each agency. The fourth allows agencies to choose whether these officers or other career officials administer the programs.
"Promoting the use of telework by our federal workforce will improve employee efficiency and ultimately lead to improved service to the American public," Davis said.
The Telework Improvements Act, H.R. 4106, was sponsored by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and cosponsored by members of the national capital regional delegation.
Tom Davis also lauded passage of HR 4791, the Federal Agency Data Protection Act. The bill, passed today by a voice vote, included language from HR 2124, the Federal Agency Data Breach Protection Act, which he introduced in May 2007.
The Federal Agency Data Breach Protection Act, sponsored by committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., calls on the executive branch to establish procedures to be followed after a data breach, including timely notification of individuals whose personal data could be compromised. It also clarifies what authorities agency heads can delegate to chief information officers and orders agencies to develop a plan to account for all personal property assigned to employees, such as laptops and data storage devices, when those employees leave that agency.
Tom Davis said he was glad to see the data breach protection provisions in the bill but complained the legislation does not go far enough.
"Most of the provisions contained in this bill are a grab bag of vague requirements, additional mandates and misplaced priorities," Tom Davis said. "This legislation casts dynamic concepts in stone and gives agency personnel more boxes to check."
Tom Davis said he hopes future legislation will:
Pursue incentives for agency success - such as financial incentives for agencies that excel.
Increase congressional oversight of agency information security practices.
Address difficulties faced by agency Chief Information Officers in their attempts to be successful and effective - both in terms of their status within their agencies and their underlying statutory authority.
Consider establishing a federal CIO or information czar within the Office of Management and Budget to improve information security and processing across the federal government.