Johanns Opposes EPA Attempt to Gain Wage Garnishing Authority

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R- Neb) this week wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy opposing a proposed rule granting the agency the power to garnish the wages of citizens without a court order. A copy of the letter is available HERE.

"Given this Administration's regulatory zeal-especially in ag circles, I find it troubling that a federal agency can have the authority to garnish wages for unpaid fines or penalties without a court order," Johanns said. "If EPA has a legitimate reason to issue a fine, and the fine is past due, the agency should have no problem getting a judge's blessing to collect it."

Johanns is also crafting legislation requiring a court order before garnishing the wages of non-federal workers.

The 1996 Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) gave federal agencies the authority to garnish up to 15 percent of a worker's wages to pay debts owed to the federal government without a court order. Federal agencies seek this authority via regulations and set up hearing procedures before they may garnish wages, which is the process EPA is currently undertaking.

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