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Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to my good friends, the chairman of the full committee and of the subcommittee, that we were doing so well in the last few bills showing how bipartisan our committees could be. And I mean that sincerely, because the committee has been working in a very bipartisan way, particularly this year.

As I indicated in my prior remarks, there is not perfect symmetry between employees and contractors. Here is one of the examples where we do not have that symmetry.

Mr. Speaker, I am a firm believer in ``lead by example.'' I think that applies to Members of Congress, and I believe the Federal employees believe that applies to them. Why else would they have a delinquency rate less than half the tax delinquency rate of other Americans? They know they are a unique workforce.

Here is a workforce that has already stepped up front beyond the American people. They are the ones who were the first to sacrifice for the deficit, and they keep sacrificing, now in the 3rd year of a freeze and a sequester on top of it.

Why would we pick them out for any other purpose except a symbolic purpose, which is what I see here? It's not lost on any of us, Mr. Speaker, that today is April 15. I suppose this is a bill to make sure everybody understands that we understand it's April 15. I understand entirely the importance of symbolic moves. I put out a release myself today on taxation without representation.

But here we have the best workforce in the United States, the most specialized, and the workforce that has given more than any of us.

I have a serious legal problem with this bill. This bill defines a ``seriously delinquent'' Federal worker as one against whom there is ``notice of a lien which has been publicly filed.'' Mr. Speaker, a notice of lien is a claim by the claimant, in this case, the United States. The answer may come, of course, as to any claim in our legal system from the defendant.

Here, on the basis of the claim alone, we are going so far as to allow even the employee to be fired, this at a time when Americans, including Federal employees, have had the worst hardships since the Great Depression, including homes under water and all the rest of it. It's just not necessary. If they have the best tax record in the United States, why then would they be picked out?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.

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Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I wanted to emphasize that the IRS already has special procedures to recover taxes from its own employees, and I commend the IRS for that, including, by the way, being able to garnish their wages up to 15 percent and even to take disciplinary actions. Why would we need anything further, particularly at this moment in time, against our Federal employees who have endured so much?

I thank the gentleman for yielding.

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