Republicans in Congress are binge-ing and purging–but their disorder isn’t of the eating variety. They are binge-ing on power and setting the stage–via passage of the Holman Rule–for political purging of federal employees.
I’ve just called my U.S. Congressional Representative, Republican Ann Wagner. I called to register my protest against the Holman Rule, which was unanimously passed by the House of Representatives as part of a new rules package. The Holman rule allows Congress to individually target and slash the pay of government workers and programs.
According to Think Progress:
The Holman rule, named after the congressman who first proposed it in 1876, was nixed by Congress in 1983. The rule, now reinstated for 2017, gives any lawmaker the power to offer amendments to appropriations bills that could, legislatively, fire any federal employee or cut their pay down to $1, if the lawmaker so chooses.
In effect, the Holman Rule enables politically motivated purges of federal employees. Its passage explains why the Trump transition team was circulating questionnaires to the Department of Energy to gather the names of employees who had participated in conferences, training programs and workshops dealing with anything objectionable to the radical-right agenda waiting to be implemented.
According to an NPR report:
… Among the queries included in a questionnaire sent by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to workers at the Department of Energy is a request for an inventory of all agency employees or contractors who attended meetings or conferences on climate change. Another question asks for a current list of professional society memberships of any lab staff.
The 74-point questionnaire has raised fears among civil rights lawyers specializing in federal worker whistleblower protections, who say the incoming administration is at a minimum trying to influence or limit the research at the Department of Energy. And at worst, attempting to target employees with views that run counter to the president-elect.
The questionnaire also asks employees for a listing of when the climate change meetings took place, and to provide any materials distributed to them “or materials created by Department employees or contractors in anticipation of or as a result of those meetings.”
“This is a very scary indication of what might happen under a Trump administration,” says Jason Zuckerman, a former legal adviser to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an agency which protects federal workers, particularly on matters of retaliation.
Once the questionnaire became public, the transition team claimed to “disavow” it and withdrew it. But the intent remains, and passage of the Holman rule confirms that.
My experience with Wagner’s office was positive. I spoke with a polite young man at her Washington DC office, who was not interested in my name, only my zip code. I followed with a call to Wagner’s local office here in St. Louis, and was greeted by a friendly young woman who looked me up in her database to be sure that I was receiving Wagner’s propaganda regularly, and, when asked,
said that I was just the second person to call on this issue. I hope I am not the last.
To call Congresswoman Wagner:
Washington DC office 202-225-1621 M-F 9-5:00pm
Missouri 2nd District Office (636) 779-5449 M-F 9-5:00pm
For everyone else, you can find your Congressional representative’s contact information here.