WASHINGTON -- A proposal to increase teleworking opportunities for federal government employees is being introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) are co-sponsors of the "Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act."
A news release sent out by Rep. Connolly's office said the bill would "prohibit the kind of indiscriminate anti-telework policies the Trump Administration has announced for the Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture."
In March, WUSA9 exposed a new policy at the Department of Agriculture that was initiated shortly after former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue took over as Secretary of the USDA. Perdue dramatically scaled back the telework policy for more than 5,200 USDA employees. The change was met by significant opposition from employees and union officials.
Similar changes are expected to be implemented in October at the Department of Education.
The bill introduced on Thursday would require government agencies to report the cost savings of telework to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and establish a plan to increase participation in telework programs.
Twenty-two percent of federal government employees participated in telework in 2016 compared to 14 percent in 2012.
“Instead of instituting mindless, sweeping bans on telework participation, agencies should be expanding teleworking options. Telework is supposed to be a tool for promoting government efficiency, performance, and emergency preparedness,” said Connolly in a statement provided to WUSA9.
Without telework, many more federal government employees are sharing the roads, metro trains and busses with other commuters.
"Our systems are so overly congested," said AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson John Townsend in a WUSA9 interview in March.
"The thing that's really moved the needle is teleworking. It can have the greatest impact on the transportation network in the Washington-metro area without spending a dime--anything else will cost billions of dollars."
Representative Connolly is scheduled to be a guest on Off Script on 9 at 7 p.m. on WUSA9 Thursday night to discuss the proposal in greater detail. WATCH LIVE.