Lawmakers Pressure Trump to Issue Federal Telework Executive Order

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An increasing number of senators and representatives calling on President Trump to order telework to eligible federal employees and contractors.

More than 60 representatives Wednesday joined more than two dozen senators urging President Donald Trump to issue an executive order mandating telework for eligible federal employees and contractors.

In a letter, 62 House lawmakers—led by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who chairs the House Government Operations subcommittee—ramped up the pressure campaign on Trump to bring federal employees and contractors more in line with recommendations to the public from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid groups of 10 or more.

“We write to urge you to issue an Executive Order mandating telework for all eligible federal employees and contractors,” the lawmakers wrote. “With 2.1 million federal employees across the globe, 300,000 federal employees in the national capital region and hundreds of thousands of federal contractors across the country, the federal government can help curtail the number of individuals potentially spreading COVID-19 through an immediate telework mandate.”

The lawmakers expressed concern over reports that federal supervisors denied telework requests from telework-eligible feds and contractors. While the private sector has largely shifted to remote operations, federal operations have lagged behind. The letter follows guidance from the Office of Management and Budget late Tuesday asking federal agencies to minimize face-to-face interactions with the general public over coronavirus concerns. The memo asks agencies to maximize telework for federal employees and extend it to contractors when possible. Agencies are also directed to reduce services that are not mission-critical.

"Non-mission-critical functions that cannot be performed remotely or that require in-person interactions may be postponed or significantly curtailed," the memo states. "Agency heads have flexibility to realign individuals or work units to higher priority activities."