The House voted Tuesday to force the Transportation Security Administration to only pay employees as criminal investigators when they spend most of their time investigating crimes.
Members approved the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act in a voice vote after a brief debate in which members of both parties said TSA has overpaid some of its employees for several years.
The bill is the result of an Office of Inspector General report from last year, which said many criminal investigators are being paid about $160,000 a year, even though they spend most of their time doing other activities. The law says half of their time must be spent investigating criminal matters in order to get the title and the pay bump, but the OIG said many were doing things like looking into employee misconduct.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), said the bill restores what should be a simple premise in government: "We pay for what we get in government."
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) also spoke in support of the bill, and said passing it into law would save the government millions of dollars over the next half decade.
"If nothing's done to correct this problem, the misclassification will cost taxpayers roughly $17 million over the next 5 years," he said. "This type of waste is simply unacceptable."
Democrats agreed. "There's no justification for providing personnel the enhanced benefits and pay associated with criminal investogators when they're not doing the job of a criminal investigator," said Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.).