Sen. Marshall calls for federal employees to return to offices to aid with Afghanistan crisis

Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Roger Marshall has called on federal employees to return to their offices to help with the crisis in Afghanistan.

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says his legislation the RETURN Act was presented in the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Tex.-02), which would require federal agencies to fully reopen offices to pre-pandemic levels as federal employees are needed back in the office to 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, Sen. Marshall said nearly every federal agency has operated under maximum telework policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said these remote work policies have done more than limit in-person gatherings and appointments with those looking for help.

Marshall said the policies have also limited agency employee access to physical mail, servers for data collection and have prevented personnel from getting voicemails left on office phones. As a result, he said many frustrated constituents have been left with unresolved issues at federal agencies or unanswered requests for federal help, especially as it relates to the crisis in Afghanistan.

According to Sen. Marshall, the legislation also required 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, servers and voicemail.

Additionally, Sen. Marshall said he has written various letters to the Biden Administration that request federal employees get back to work and government offices reopen.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Marshall launched an email address for Kansans that need help with the evacuation in Afghanistan. If you have a loved one or colleague that needs help getting back to the U.S. from Afghanistan or an Afghan SIV applicant, email EvacHelp@Marshall.Senate.Gov or call (785)829-9000.

To read the full bill, click HERE.

To read Sen. Marshall’s letters to the Biden Administration, click HERE.

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