The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Friday gave final approval to six bills that would improve the performance of the federal government. Each bill was passed by voice vote.
The approved bills are:
S. 2178 -- Federal Real Property Asset Management Reform Act, introduced by Senator Carper, would require agencies to collect better data about real property under their control and creates a pilot program to streamline the federal property disposal process while taking steps to eliminate property mismanagement.
S. 2170 - Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, introduced by Senator Akaka and co-sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, would modify the Hatch Act's penalty structure to permit a range of penalties for federal employees; cuts back the prohibition on certain state and local employees running for partisan elective office; categorizes D.C. government employees as state and local employees; and allows federal employees residing in D.C. to engage in local political activity.
S. 2234 -- End Trafficking in Government Contracting Act of 2012, introduced by Senator Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, would strengthen the ability of federal agencies to ensure that their contractors and subcontractors do not engage in human trafficking activities.
S. 2239 -- Veterans Skills to Jobs Act, introduced by Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., would make it easier for veterans to obtain federal licenses by allowing agencies to treat military training as sufficient to meet licensing requirements.
H.R.915 -- Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force, introduced by Rep. Henry Cuellar, R-Texas, would codify an existing program that brings together personnel from DHS and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate investigations into cross-border smuggling networks. The bill is named after Jaime Zapata, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent who was brutally murdered by cartel members in Mexico.
S. 3315 -- GAO Mandates Revision Act of 2012, would repeal or modify a number of legislative mandates on GAO that are now outdated, unnecessary or for which the cost outweighs the benefits.
Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn. said: "I am pleased the Committee has acted on this legislation today, which will help improve government performance - a necessary goal at all times but even more essential during periods of economic weakness. This Committee's longstanding efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government are reinforced by these bills."
Ranking Member Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, said: "I am particularly pleased that our committee has given its approval to legislation that would improve the process for disposing of unneeded federal buildings. There are far too many instances where the cost of maintaining an excess federal building far outweighs the benefit of keeping it on the federal inventory," "This is a good, bipartisan bill that will help the federal government dispose of unused property and save taxpayer money in the process."