Reps. Katie Porter, D-Calif., Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., reintroduced legislation on April 18 that would codify into law parts of President Biden’s 2021 executive order (EO) that directs Federal to make citizen-focused improvements to government services.

The Trust in Government Act – first introduced by Rep. Porter in the fall of 2022 – didn’t gain much traction last year, and failed to make it to the House floor for a vote. The bill details specific requirements for Federal agencies to improve their services, and mandates periodic reports to Congress on the progress being made.

Specifically, the bill would direct the Department of Education to create a centralized loan repayment portal for student loan borrowers no matter their loan servicer.

It would also direct the Social Security Administration to create an online process for people applying for services, with the process capable of uploading forms or documentation.

The bill also would direct the Department of State to set up online passport renewal processes –something that the State Department began to do on a limited basis last year.

“The Federal government is only as good as the quality of services it provides to the American people,” Rep Connolly said in a previous statement about the legislation. “That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that the public interacts with a modern, accessible, and customer-focused government.”

“The American people deserve nothing less than top-notch service from their Federal agencies,” said Rep. Porter. “A lack of accessibility and efficiency not only wastes taxpayer dollars and Americans’ time; it also erodes the people’s trust in our government.”

The bill also includes reporting requirements for agencies and requirements for the Office of Management and Budget to establish a team that would support agencies’ work on improving customer experience.

The bill’s cosponsors – which include eight other House Democrats in addition to Reps. Porter, Connolly, and Mfume – said that its intent is to improve the quality of government services.

The legislation draws upon President Biden’s 2021 EO on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery, which aims to rebuild public trust in the government. The EO directs a whole-of-government approach to manage customer experience – including specific agency commitments to improving services, with that aim being reinforced by the President’s Management Agenda.

“That was the goal President Biden set in his Executive Order … and that is the goal we seek to achieve with the Trust in Government Act of 2022,” Rep Connolly stated.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.