In a district with thousands of people employed by companies that contract with the federal government, we expect our representatives to hold the bureaucracy accountable and help these companies create jobs. Steve Knight’s legislation which recently became law does just that. H.R. 3210, the Securely Expediting Clearances Through Reporting Transparency Act of 2018, helps find a way to eliminate security clearance backlogs that have slowed local contractors from hiring qualified candidates in our area.
Before Knight got this legislation signed into law in May, the security clearance process, whereby employers have new hires cleared to work by the federal government, would take as long as two years with no hope of improvement in sight. These backlogs slow people from doing the jobs they were hired for and kept them from the earnings these skilled positions provide.
The legislation directs the federal Office of Personnel Management to revise existing procedures in order to reduce their backlogs. It also directs the National Background Investigations Bureau and President’s office to report to Congress on how to remedy the administrative backlog. These measures will significantly reduce security-clearance wait times and make the bureaucracy in charge of this process more accountable to elected representatives.
But this is not all Knight has done on this issue. Just this week, he and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy successfully lobbied the OPM to address security clearance backlogs at Edwards Air Force Base and Air Force Plant 42. The OPM has prioritized applications at these locations and they are now 92 percent complete, ensuring that people in our community will be able to work sooner than they would have if Knight and McCarthy had not stepped in.
Knight also helped pass the Accelerated Payments of Small Businesses Act, which mandated that the federal government pay invoices issued by their contracting partners within fifteen days. This legislation, too, adds to Knight’s record helping to make the federal government a fair and efficient partner with companies in the private sector. Though the legislation is particularly helpful in Knight’s district, it also helps communities across the country that depend on contracting relationships with the federal government.