Telework caught in a crossfire

Friday - 5/21/2010, 5:18pm EDT

An identical amendment establishing a pilot program at the Patent and Trademark Office in two different committees has reportedly brought the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act (S. 707) to a screeching halt.

Under an amendment, PTO would reimburse telework employees for expenses incurred when they were required to travel to headquarters. The program would affect more two thousand patent employees, mostly in the work-at-home program.

It was offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.) and approved by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. GovExec reports Coburn "offered an identical amendment to a patent reform bill" before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

So essentially, one amendment, two committees.

That's enough for the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) to put a hold on the Telework bill.

GovExec reports a Senate staffer said "supporters of the bill have turned to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for help" to get it moving again.