It’s bad enough that the GOP and the incoming Donald Trump administration plan to repeal Obamacare, privatize Social Security, deport immigrants, hand tax breaks to the rich, and take away a woman’s right to choose.
This week, House Republicans revived an obscure but potent procedural rule that allows any lawmaker to delve deep into appropriation bills — meaning any bill that allows the U.S. government to spend money — and reduce the pay of individual federal workers down to $1.00. Yes, you read that right. One. Dollar. Per year. 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.’
This means that any member of the GOP-controlled House can target our civil servants with surgical precision when they’re involved in projects and programs Republicans don’t like. President-elect Donald Trump’s team has already raised hackles by demanding that the U.S. Dept. of Energy hand over lists of names of staff whose work involves international climate change treaties and carbon reduction programs.
The Holman rule also gives the Republicans a free hand in gutting unions and our 130-year-old civil service… Even though the majority of Americans want more services from the government, not less. This includes the working class whites who voted for Donald Trump. CNN Money reports 62 percent of them distrust the federal government and blame it for their economic troubles, but 63 percent also say the feds don’t do enough to help people like them.
Of course, this ticking time bomb of a procedural rules change still needs a “yes” vote from the Senate. But — oh, wait! — they’re controlled by the Republicans, too.
‘A majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment, but opponents and supporters agree that it puts agencies and the public on notice that their work is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.’
Maureen Gilman, the legislative director for the National Treasury Employees Union, declared:
‘This is part of a very chilling theme that federal workers are seeing right now.’
The NTEU alone represents 150,000 federal workers.
If you aren’t already terrified enough about the GOP’s wanton destruction and hostile takeover of America, then consider this. As we learned the hard way back in 2013 when House Republicans shut down the government for 19 days, shutting down services and furloughing workers cost our economy a whopping $24 billion. When civil servants get laid off or don’t get paid, it doesn’t just impact them and their families. It hurts their coworkers, those who benefit from their job functions, and the people they do business with — and the effects keep rippling out into the broader community.
Oh, and there’s one more thing. If the salary for a government job is only $1, then the only people who can afford to take that job will be someone wealthy with a vested interest in how that job is done. And who do you think those people might be?
Watch: House Minority White Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) rails against the Holman $1 rule.
Featured image: Fuse via Getty Images.