Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House passes package attacking federal employee rights

On July 7, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Rep. Gary Palmer’s (R-AL) “Government Reform and Improvement Act” (H.R. 4361), a package of several bills granting agency heads increased authority to undermine the rights and due process of federal employees, including:

  • overriding collective-bargaining rights for federal employees,
  • undermining due process precautions,
  • enabling retaliation against whistleblowers,
  • allowing agency heads to fire senior executives with little notice, and
  • lengthening the probationary period for new employees from one year to two years.

The measure, which was introduced in January, was recently approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where a heated debate took place over the rights of federal employees.

“This legislation is intended to provide agencies with more authority to root out so-called bad apples from the federal workforce,” OGR Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said. “However, I do not believe the solution to getting rid of the few bad apples is to attack the due process rights of millions of hardworking, dedicated federal employees who serve the American people honorably every single day.”

The Obama administration also issued a threat to veto the bill, saying that the bill “would weaken the rights of federal employees, and be impractical and administratively burdensome to implement.”

The measure now heads to the Senate, where a companion bill has not yet been introduced.

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