Lawmakers want vote on bill easing firings of State Dept. workers

Two freshman representatives are pressing for a House vote on their bill making it easier to fire State Department employees. 

House Foreign Affairs Committee members Scott Perry (R-Penn.) and Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced their legislation to make it easier to dismiss employees after no State Department workers were fired after the Benghazi terrorist attack that left four Americans dead. Eighteen lawmakers have sponsored the bill. 

“Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked for this bill when she testified before Congress in January,” Meng said Tuesday in a statement. “Now it’s time for us to pass it.”

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An independent review of the Benghazi attack found “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at the State Department, but no one was fired because they weren't found to have breached their duties.

“There are regulations and laws that govern that,” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified in January. “Under federal statute and regulations, unsatisfactory leadership is not grounds for finding a breach of duty."

The Perry-Meng bill would replace the “breach of duty” threshold with a lower standard allowing for the dismissal of employees who have “engaged in misconduct or unsatisfactorily performed [their] duties of employment (...), and such misconduct or unsatisfactory performance has significantly contributed to ... serious injury, loss of life, or significant destruction of property, or ... serious breach of security.”

Perry and Meng are touting their bill as they tour their districts over the congressional recess. 

The Foreign Affairs committee's chairman, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), has also co-sponsored the legislation.

He told Clinton in January that his panel would work to "fix that problem" of not being able to fire people.