Press Release

Congressman Cuellar’s Customer Service Bill Passes the House

H.R. 1660 makes the Federal Government more accountable to taxpayers

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Washington, July 31, 2013 | Miranda Margowsky (202-225-1640) | comments

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) announced that his bill, the Government Customer Service Improvement Act of 2013, passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill seeks to serve the taxpayers by improving customer service across federal agencies.

Service delivery breakdowns are in the headlines daily – veterans wait for months for critical services and Federal retirees wait for more than a year to receive the benefits they’ve earned. The Government Customer Service Improvement Act expands the existing performance management framework to track service delivery across the government to reduce the delays.

“Just like the private sector strives to provide excellent customer service to bring in business, the federal government should embed better service to bring efficiency,” Congressman Cuellar said.  “I have a strong belief that we owe our taxpayers more than delays and service breakdowns – we owe them an effective, efficient, and responsible government because, ultimately, government is in the business of customer service.”

Introduced by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) and Michael McCaul (R-TX10), this legislation will do the following at no additional cost to the taxpayer:

·         Raise the bar for enhancing quality and access: The legislation will require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop minimal customer service standards that agencies must use to develop detailed goals to improve response times for inquires to Federal agencies and to modernize existing processes to make service more efficient. It also requires Agencies to develop a customer service feedback system in coordination with OMB that provides customers an opportunity to comment on the service they receive. 

·         Create a Service Improvement Unit: OMB with support from GSA will create a two-year pilot program that will bring the top process improvement experts from across the government together to work with agencies that fail to meet the government-wide service standards. The unit will draw on successful strategies from other agencies to develop more expertise within the government to solve service breakdowns.

·         Target OPM Backlog: The bill includes new reporting requirements for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to monitor the long-standing backlog for retirement and other benefits. The proposal calls for monthly reporting on the OPM benefit backlog including the completeness of information OPM receives from other agencies and length of time applicants have been waiting. It also requires regular updates on OPM’s retirement systems modernization project.

A link to Congressman Cuellar’s Statement on the House Floor may be accessed through this link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEijyjpqR6E&feature=youtu.be.

H.R. 1660 passed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform by unanimous voice vote on July 24, 2013. The bill now heads to the United States Senate where it awaits consideration.

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