Sen. Marshall: Federal Employees Must Get Back to Office to Better Address Situation in Afghanistan
Marshall’s RETURN Act Requiring Federal Offices to Reopen Introduced in the House
(Washington, D.C., August 20, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D.’s legislation, the RETURN Act, which requires federal agencies to fully reopen offices to pre-pandemic levels was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by Representative Dan Crenshaw. The legislation comes at a time when federal employees need to be back in the office so they can better address the crisis in Afghanistan.
“We need a whole-of-government approach to addressing the crisis in Afghanistan and therefore federal employees must get back to the office so they have access to the tools and resources needed,” said Senator Marshall. “Unfortunately, the federal government has a lot of ground to make up as it relates to helping folks safely evacuate Afghanistan. The Return Act holds this Administration accountable when it comes to their efforts to get all Americans and SIV Applicants out of Afghanistan safely and as soon as possible.”
Since March 2020, nearly every federal agency has been operating under maximum telework policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these remote work policies have done more than limit in-person meetings and appointments for constituents seeking assistance. They’ve also limited agency employee access to physical mail, servers for data collection, and have prevented personnel from retrieving voicemails left on office phones. As a result, many frustrated constituents have been left with unresolved issues at federal agencies or unanswered requests for federal assistance – especially as it relates to the crisis in Afghanistan. Senator Marshall’s legislation also requires a report to Congress on how agency services and constituent response times have been affected by the increased level of telework and limited access to physical mail, data servers, and voicemail. You may click HERE to read full bill text.
Additionally, Senator Marshall has written numerous letters to the Administration requesting federal employees get back to work and that government offices reopen. You may click here, or here to read the letters.
Earlier this week, Senator Marshall launched an email address for Kansans seeking evacuation assistance from Afghanistan. If you have a loved one or colleague who is an American citizen still located in Afghanistan, or an Afghan SIV applicant, please contact our office at EvacHelp@Marshall.Senate.Gov or (785)829-9000. Staff can provide information and instructions on the process of safely evacuating Americans from Afghanistan.