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Congressman Ken Buck

Representing the 4th District of Colorado

Buck Amendment Prevents Burrowing into Department of Veterans Affairs

March 21, 2017
Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kyle Huwa, 202-225-4676

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ken Buck (CO-04) introduced an amendment that passed by voice vote to H.R. 1367 to make clear that former political appointees in the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot have their positions converted into competitively-selected civil service positions without going through the proper civil service hiring process first. This practice is commonly called “burrowing,” and according to Office of Personnel Management data, at least 17 individuals from various Executive agencies successfully burrowed between September 1, 2015 and July 14, 2016. Several dozen more attempted to do so. By burrowing into career civil service positions, political appointees use their political connections to jump ahead of other qualified individuals.

“Political appointees in the VA have a duty to step down when their appointing president leaves, allowing new appointees and accomplished, life-long civil servants to continue the work of serving our nation’s veterans,” Congressman Ken Buck stated. “We cannot allow the very same Obama administration political appointees who so poorly managed the VA during their appointments to then burrow into the agency and continue their poor performance.”

Congressman Buck has introduced legislation (H.R. 1132) that would prevent political appointees across the government from burrowing into civil service positions. Until that legislation becomes law, this amendment prevents the practice from occurring in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

H.R. 1367 passed the House and will now be considered by the Senate.