House passes bill to curb ‘abuse’ by government agencies

Alexis Levinson | Political Reporter

Thursday afternoon, the House voted to curb the rights and payments of executive agency employees in the wake of the scandal surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s inappropriate scrutiny of conservative groups and other abuses by government agencies.

The Stop Government Abuse Act passed by a 239-176 vote.

The bill combines several different measures. It allows people to record phone conversations or in-person conversations with executive agency officials. It also gives agencies the authority to put senior officials on unpaid leave when they are the subject of investigation for a serious offense. Lastly, it limits federal employee bonuses when sequestration is in effect.

In a statement, speaker John Boehner lauded the bill for giving “families and small business owners some of the tools they need to guard against needless government harassment.”

“This kind of bill shouldn’t be necessary, but in an era when the president’s IRS is targeting Americans for their political beliefs and government agencies are choking small businesses with red tape, Congress needs to act,” he added.

The bill comes as part of the House’s “Stop Government Abuse” week. On Wednesday, the House passed to other bills as part of the package: the Government Spending Accountability Act, which requires agencies to make public how much money they spend on conferences, and caps the amount of money that can be spent on such things; and the Government Service Improvement Act, which sets guidelines and standards for customer service by federal agencies.

On Friday, the House will vote on another bill in the series that would prohibit the IRS from implementing Obamacare.

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