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Congressional Republicans seek to end COVID mandates and work from home for federal workers

WNY Representative Langworthy says the public feels the pandemic is over, and President Biden agrees.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — COVD vaccine mandates are taking center stage once again. This time it's the subject of COVID vaccine requirements for federal employees and now congressional Republicans in Washington are pushing back. They also want to see all federal workers back in their agency offices.

Congressman Nick Langworthy is a rookie Republican Representative who has a seat on the House Oversight, Accountability and Reform Committee as well as the House Rules Committee which is kind of a gatekeeper. And that's why he is pushing forward with these two measures dealing with COVID mandates and the work-from-home policy.

Langworthy starts out with this political philosophy, "We are not going to allow the White House or anyone else to continue to use COVID as an excuse for a big government agenda that continues us down the wrong path."

That is the GOP motivation for setting upcoming votes on two proposals. First, the Freedom to Healthcare Workers Act to strike down the required COVID vaccine mandate at the Federal level for those in medical fields. 

There have been numerous but still largely unresolved legal challenges for such immunization mandates for all federal employees and even some protests at local firms with the extension of federal contract rules. 

And Representative Langworthy admits that while this is only for the federal healthcare workforce like the VA, there could be a further push on Albany in regard to overall concerns about healthcare staffing.  

"Was proud to join with my colleagues in the New York delegation to urge Governor Hochul to drop the mandate also in New York. It's causing these huge staffing shortages and it's stretching hospitals way too thin."

Langworthy and other GOP House members are also now pushing the SHOW Up Act which would require federal agencies to bring their staffers back to the office instead of allowing remote or work-from-home policies. 

"There's no reason why taxpayers should be footing the salaries for workers that are not giving a full effort necessarily on a work-from-home only schedule."   

2 On Your Side Asked "Have you heard any percentage of federal employees that are still choosing to stay at home versus a return to the office?

Langworthy responded "It's tough to get answers. We're gonna be working right through that in the House Oversight Committee as to exactly how many are not in the office. But I can tell you just anecdotally - there's no traffic in Washington, DC."

On the other hand, some federal agency managers say making federal workers return to the office could seriously affect their ability to seek out, hire, and keep good federal workers who really like to work from home now. They claim such employees could leave for outside contractors just as businesses fear losing workers to competitors with that work-from-home option.

The Associated Press reports President Joe Biden has informed Congress that he will end the twin national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11, as most of the world has returned closer to normalcy nearly three years after they were first declared. The move to end the national emergency and public health emergency declarations will formally restructure the federal coronavirus response to treat the virus as an endemic threat to public health that can be managed through agencies’ normal authorities. 



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