House passes bill to reimburse fed workers for Uber

House passes bill to reimburse fed workers for Uber

Lawmakers are trying to ensure that federal employees can take advantage of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft when they travel on official government business.

ADVERTISEMENT

The House unanimously passed legislation on Thursday that would require the General Services Administration (GSA) to issue regulations clarifying that federal workers should be reimbursed for using transportation services like Uber and Lyft – or any similar technology that emerges in the future.

Although federal employees are allowed to use ride-hailing services, bill sponsors are concerned that agencies and workers may not be aware of their options since the GSA is not required to issue any comprehensive guidance on the topic.

Lawmakers also said that ride-hailing services can help save the federal government money by reducing travel costs, but only if Congress works to keep up with the pace of innovation.

“In the modern shared economy, there are many new methods of transportation that can help the federal government reduce the cost associated with travel by federal employees,” Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) said on the House floor earlier this week. “In order for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds, it’s important that it embrace innovation and the efficiencies that come with it.”

The bipartisan measure, which was approved under an expedited process that requires a two-thirds majority for passage, also would require the GSA to issue a report analyzing the government savings generated from workers using ride-hailing services.

The legislation comes after a House panel approved a separate bill designed to shore up federal use of ride-hailing services. That measure would allow employees to use their federal transit benefits on alternative options like Uber, Lyft, Capital Bikeshare and taxis while DC’s Metrorail system implements a massive repair project.

“In this region, Metro is being fixed,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). “It goes to show we need all the diversity and means of travel we can find.”