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House Panel Passes Bill Cracking Down on Tax Delinquent Federal Workers

A House legislative panel this week approved a crackdown on federal employees who owe back taxes to Uncle Sam.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a bill on Wednesday that would terminate the employment of federal workers who are seriously delinquent on their taxes and another that prevents seriously delinquent taxpayers from getting a job with the federal workforce.

The bills define "seriously delinquent tax debt" as an outstanding debt for which a notice of lien has been filed in the public record. But federal workers who enter installment arrangements to pay off their tax debts would not be affected.

Currently, only IRS employees can be fired for not paying federal income taxes.

The bills now head to the full GOP-led House for a vote. The fate of the bills in the Democratic-led Senate is unclear.

"The bills we reported today further the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's core mission of ensuring that money Washington takes from taxpayers is well spent, and contributes to an efficient and effective government," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the committee said in a statement.

The panel also passed a bill that increases the probationary period for new hires from one to two years.

Taken together, the bills are part of an effort to hold workers who have better benefits than the private sector to a higher standard.

Nearly 100,00 federal civilian employees owed $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes in 2009, according to the IRS. The number of delinquent federal employees has remained consistent since 2004, but the amount owed has soared nearly 70 percent from $600 million to $1 billion.