The fun new way to say “you’re fired”

The other day House Republicans made it possible for them to get around civil service protections by cutting the pay of individual workers to $1 thus in effect firing them.

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.

And, worse than “whims,” the ideological hatred of climate science, women’s rights, consumer protections – you get the idea.

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.

To put it mildly. Jeff Sessions hates civil rights, Andrew Puzder hates the minimum wage – what could possibly go wrong?

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that voters elected Trump with the hope of fundamentally changing the way government works and that the Holman Rule gives Congress a chance to do just that.

He lost the popular vote, by a lot. That’s not “a mandate” to trash the joint.

In light of recent inquiries by the Trump transition team about a list of Energy Department scientists who have worked on climate change, advocates for federal workers say they worry that bureaucrats could be targeted for political reasons.

Jeffrey Neal, former personnel chief at the Department of Homeland Security and now a senior vice president at ICF International, said the rule “creates a lot of opportunity for mischief.”

No no, it’s draining the swamp.

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