BANGOR, Maine — Maine’s Republican senator said Tuesday that she’s joining with dozens of others in calling for an immediate transition of federal workers back to in-person service.
Sen. Susan Collins is part of a group of 43 senators, all of whom are Republicans, calling for the change. The senators have made the request to the heads of three federal departments, including the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Collins and the other senators said in a statement that the lack of in-person staffing had led to “widespread lack of responsiveness and accessibility across the federal government on account of current agency work plans.” They said they want the transition to happen immediately.
The senators said the extended remote work, which is a result of the coronavirus pandemic, has led to backlogs in key service areas. One example they cited is that there are nearly 7 million unprocessed individual tax returns for the 2020 tax year. They also said wait times to get a new passport have become unacceptably long.
Republicans have also recently used legislation to try to return federal workers to offices. One bill, introduced in October, would send most federal employees back to their stations and pre-pandemic work hours.