House passes bill to reimburse fed workers for Uber

House passes bill to reimburse fed workers for Uber

House lawmakers have renewed an effort to make sure federal employees can take advantage of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft when they travel on official government business.

The lower chamber passed legislation by voice vote on Tuesday that would require the General Services Administration (GSA) to issue regulations clarifying that federal workers should be reimbursed for using transportation services Uber and Lyft and any similar technology that emerges in the future.

A similar bill passed the House last fall, but was never cleared by the Senate.

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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 — because 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.

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 bill's passage comes as Uber has increasingly raised its profile on Capitol Hill through lobbying and member outreach.

Last year, a House panel approved separate legislation designed to shore up federal use of ride-hailing services. That measure would have allowed employees to use their federal transit benefits on alternative options such as Uber, Lyft, Capital Bikeshare and taxis while DC’s Metrorail system implements a massive repair project.