Sen. Mike Johanns doesn’t want the Environmental Protection Agency to garnish the wages of Americans without a court order.
Johanns has introduced legislation with South Dakota Sen. John Thune to prevent the EPA from moving forward with a new rule.
“With all the new federal regulations being issued, I find it troubling that the EPA is now seeking authority to garnish wages for unpaid fines or penalties without a court order,” Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call.
Johanns says if the EPA has a legitimate reason to collect a fine, it shouldn’t be hard to get a judge’s blessing.
Johanns says the bill would provide a check on the expanding power of the EPA.
“Given EPA’s regulatory zeal, especially in ag circles, it’s just common sense that EPA should not have unilateral authority to take money out of American’s paychecks without seeking court approval,” Johanns says.
Johanns also has written EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, requesting EPA not to move forward until it receives public input.
Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jeff Flake (R-AR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) are original cosponsors of the Johanns-Thune bill.
Johanns’ office says the Johanns-Thune legislation specifically states EPA must receive a court order before taking any wage garnishment actions established by the 1996 Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA). The 1996 law gave federal agencies the authority to garnish up to 15% of a worker’s wages to pay debts owed to the federal government.