Friday, January 6, 2017

Like the "Nuclear Option"? Then You'll LOVE the "Armageddon Rule"

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.

The revival of the Holman Rule was the brainchild of Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), who is intent on increasing the powers of individual members of Congress to reassign workers as policy demands.

He favors a strategic application, likening it to a bullet from a sniper rifle rather than a shotgun. It’s unlikely — but not impossible — that members will “go crazy” and cut huge swaths of the workforce, he said.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday, Jan.3, he is "deeply concerned by a number of controversial provisions" included by the majority in the rules for the 115th Congress. He said the revival the Holman Rule, "undermines civil service protection."

“I can’t tell you it won’t happen,” he said in an interview Wednesday in his office. “The power is there. But isn’t that appropriate? Who runs this country, the people of the United States or the people on the people’s payroll?

Democrats and federal employee unions say the provision, which one called the “Armageddon Rule,” could prove alarming to the federal workforce because it comes in combination with President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of the Washington bureaucracy, his call for a freeze on government hiring and his nomination of Cabinet secretaries who in some cases seem to be at odds with the mission of the agencies they would lead.

“This is part of a very chilling theme that federal workers are seeing right now,” said Maureen Gilman, legislative director for the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal employees.
This maneuver is fully enabled by Harry Reid's use of the "Nuclear Option". Congress is now in the turn-around mode, and the future looks to be one of partisan war, just as Reid started it to get ObamaCare passed with purely Democrat votes. Cries for bi-partisan cooperation are alligator tears from the culpable Left which brought this about.

Further, the existence of federal employee unions is enough to warrant the use of this procedure to pare down the bloat in the multitudes of bureaus and agencies and departments. But also, because there is no consequence for bad behavior in the government (a Leftist trait if ever there was one), the consequences can be dealt from the congressional floor.

Of course in the future this will resolve to partisan "hits", but that's how the agencies and bureaus have been staffed, anyway, with Leftists filling all the jobs and making more jobs for more Leftists.

My favorite would be to assert the Armageddon Rule on the entire DOJ, the entire EPA, the entire IRS, and the entire Department of Education.


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