The bill, from Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) seeks to increase the penalties senior officials can face in these situations.

"The bill represents an important step in ensuring senior leaders are held to a high standard, especially when their conduct is flagrant," according to a September report on the bill from the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.

Under the bill, agency chiefs would have the specific authority to place senior officials on administrative leave with pay for misappropriating funds, misconduct, neglect of duty or malfeasance. Employees whose conduct is "serious or flagrant" can be placed on administrative leave without pay.

After two weeks, and after sending a report about the incident to Congress, an agency chief either would have to remove the employee, suspend him or her without pay, or allow the individual to return to work.

Other language in the bill would allow agencies to terminate or suspend without pay any senior official who commits a crime.

GOP supporters of the bill say the specific option of firing workers for misappropriation of funds is needed, and the Oversight Committee approved the bill by voice vote in September. However, Democrats noted then that current law already allows agencies to take disciplinary action against senior officials involved in "misconduct, neglect or duty or malfeasance."