Jan. 6th, 2017

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[personal profile] tanaqui
House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1
House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.

The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to propose amending an appropriations bill to single out a government employee or cut a specific program.

The use of the rule would not be simple; a majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment. At the same time, opponents and supporters agree that the work of 2.1 million civil servants, designed to be insulated from politics, is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.
Given Trump is looking to appoint many Cabinet secretaries who are at odds with the agencies they'll lead, and has already asked for details of federal staff working on particular programmes, this looks like laying the groundwork for silencing federal employees or driving them out of their current roles.

WHAT TO DO

Call your representatives to let them know you object to the Holman Rule being revived and urge them to rescind it and to vote against any amendments that make use of it.

Sample script: "Hi, my name is ________, and I'm a constituent of the Senator/Congressman/Congresswoman/Governor. I want to let Mr./Ms. (name of rep) know that I object to Congress reviving the Holman Rule, which allows members of congress to cut the pay of individual federal workers. I believe this will have a chilling effect on federal workers and limit the ability of federal agencies to effectively deliver services. I urge Mr./Ms. (name of rep) to work to rescind the Holman Rule and to vote against any amendments to appropriations bills that single out one or more specific government employees."

(If you don't already have your reps' contact info, this post has links for finding them. And for any of our members who are federal employees, or who have family/friends who are federal employees, my heartfelt sympathies that you are facing such an incredibly low blow.)

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