GOP House Revives 140-Year-Old Rule That Has Swamp-Dwelling Bureaucrats Sweating Bullets
D.C. swamp creatures beware ...
by Chris Golden January 6, 2017
President-elect Donald Trump has promised repeatedly to "drain the swamp" in Washington and — if we were to follow the metaphor — the Republican-controlled Congress will likely act as the pump.
While Trump has been busy laying the groundwork for clearing away the political muck, banning lobbyists from serving in his administration and pushing for an amendment to introduce term limits to Congress, among other measures, the men and women of the House and Senate will eventually do the heavily lifting.
Now, the House of Representatives may be making the biggest move yet in that direction, thanks to the revival of a 140-year-old rule.
For those of you who may have forgotten in the age of executive orders and actions, changes in federal law are supposed to originate in Congress, making the legislative branch the key to ending Washington's toxic culture.
Now, according to The Washington Post, the GOP-controlled House has used the first week of the new Congress to reinstate the Holman Rule, an 1876 provision that can use an amendment to an appropriations bill to reduce the salary of an individual government employee to $1.
The rule would let lawmakers target civil servants who abuse their posts but still have union protections. The rule could, for instance, have been used on former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, locus of the IRS' intimidation scandal.
While Lerner faced minimal consequences for her wide-ranging role in the scandal — she refused to reveal much of anything to congressional investigators — The Weekly Standard pointed out that she received $129,000 in bonuses and a yearly pension that could top $100,000.
And, as The New York Times reported in April of 2015, when it came to the VA scandal in which government employees had manipulated wait times for veterans seeking appointments, "the real number of people removed from their jobs is … at most, three."
However, The Washington Post made the re-emergence of the Holman Act sound like an incipient, low-key, dictatorial purge.
“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," the Post reported. "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.”
Please go to Western Journalism to read the entire news article.
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