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Statement on Signing the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993

October 06, 1993

Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 20, the "Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993."

For too long, the rights of Federal and postal workers to express themselves and fully participate in our political process have been curtailed. Federal law currently penalizes public servants by limiting their political participation outside the Federal workplace. People who devote their lives to public service should not be denied the right to participate more fully in the democratic process. This law moves us in a more sensible direction.

The passage of H.R. 20 is primarily due to the steadfast efforts of many Members of Congress and the Federal and postal employees and their representatives. The Hatch Act reforms in this bill will provide Federal and postal employees the opportunity to exercise their citizenship more fully and freely for the first time in over 50 years.

At the same time, this Act spells out the rights and responsibilities of Federal and postal workers. While employees will now be allowed to volunteer on their own time for the candidate of their choice, all political activity in the Federal workplace will be prohibited, including the wearing of campaign buttons.

Further, not only does H.R. 20 continue prohibitions against soliciting political contributions from the general public and subordinate employees, but it also strengthens the criminal penalties for those convicted of abusing their official position. This balanced measure will ensure Americans fair and impartial administration of Federal laws, while providing Federal and postal employees the rights that are essential to their independent exercise of personal choice.

H.R. 20 also includes a likewise overdue provision for the garnishment of Federal pay to repay private debt. We already have the authority to offset the salaries of Federal employees for Federal debt, and we use it. In presenting his National Performance Review report, Vice President Gore expressed his faith in the quality and integrity of Government employees. He and I share that faith. This new provision of law will ensure that those few Federal workers who fail to pay their private debts will no longer be able to hide behind their Federal employment to escape their personnel financial responsibilities.

As a candidate, I strongly supported the much needed reforms contained in H.R. 20. It gives me great pleasure to sign this bill into law. I look forward to the infusion of Federal and postal employee energy, expertise, and dedication into our political system that this bill makes possible.


The White House,

October 6, 1993.

NOTE: H.R. 20, approved October 6, was assigned Public Law No. 103-94.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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