Last Friday, NTEU sent a letter to House Republicans concerning their proposed Rules Package for the House of Representatives for the upcoming Congress, which is set to convene today. A draft copy of the House majority’s planned rules of procedure for the 115th Congress has been unveiled, and they include a change for appropriations measures that would re-institute the so-called Holman Rule, which was first used in 1876 and ultimately abandoned in 1983. Under the Holman Rule, amendments would be allowed on appropriations measures that are legislative in nature (generally banned) and which would allow specific amendments to reduce the number of federal employee positions at agencies, as well as to reduce federal employee salaries and compensation. In his letter, NTEU National President Tony Reardon argues that targeting federal employees will neither serve the public interest, nor the goal of reforming agencies.
The House Republican Conference will gather and vote on the Rules Package this week. Congressmen Tom Cole (R-OK) and Rob Bishop (R-UT), senior members of the Republican caucus, will offer an amendment to strike the Holman Rule from the Rules Package. Reps. Cole and Bishop are asking their fellow Republican legislators to support their amendment owing to their concern for random cuts to the federal workforce, as well as to the negative impact on federal agencies, and to the overall dilution to the authorization and appropriations processes in the House. NTEU strongly supports this amendment, and has contacted Republican offices to signal our support for the Cole-Bishop amendment.
I will keep you updated on further developments. Note that this rules change is limited to the House, and that many subsequent legislative actions, including conferencing with Senate-passed appropriations measures, are required before a bill becomes law.