House Republicans gave themselves the power to cut federal employees salaries to $1 or eliminating their jobs altogether by reinstating an arcane law.
This happened on the same day Republicans scrapped plans to gut the House Ethics Office after public outrage.
“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 a $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service,” the Washington Post reports.
“The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to offer an amendment to an appropriations bill that targets a specific government employee or program.”
It’s no surprise that the Holman Rule has racist roots: “At least one scholar has suggested that initial enthusiasm for the new rule stemmed from its use as a device to allow the House to gain leverage against the Senate and President for repeal of several Reconstruction-era laws, including changes in jury qualifications and Federal election supervisors for the South, as well as a reorganization of the Army.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer issued a statement blasting the reinstatement of the Holman Rule: “First, reinstating the ‘Holman Rule’ would make it easier for the Majority to circumvent the current legislative process in order to fire or cut the pay of federal employees. It undermines civil service protections; it goes back to the nineteenth century. Republicans have consistently made our hardworking federal employees scapegoats, in my opinion, for lack of performance of the federal government itself, and this rule change will enable them to make short-sighted and ideologically driven changes to our nation’s civil service.”