WASHINGTON- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced the introduction of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (H.R. 3289). The legislation will strengthen provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Act, originally enacted in 1989, for federal government employees who expose abuse, mismanagement, or criminal activity in federal agencies and programs.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is an original co-sponsor of the legislation, as are Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa., and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who sponsored whistleblower protection enhancement legislation last congress. Similar legislation was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last month. You can read a copy of the House legislation here.
“Whistleblowers play critical roles in exposing wrongdoing in government,” said Issa.”Federal employees who discover waste, abuse and mismanagement in their agency need to be able to alert agency leaders and Congress without fear of reprisal from supervisors, and within the confines of the law. This legislation establishes new protections for those who seek lawful ways to address abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
When enacted, the legislation will:
• close judicially-created loopholes in existing whistleblower protection law;
• extend whistleblower protection rights to some 40,000 airport baggage screeners;
• increase avenues for intelligence community whistleblowers to safely and legally expose waste, fraud and abuse at intelligence agencies;
• create specific protection in the law for scientific freedom;
• ensure a permanent anti-gag statute to neutralize classifications like “classifiable,” “sensitive but unclassified,” “sensitive security information” and other poorly defined security labels;
• establish consistency with other remedial employment laws;
• strengthen the Office of Special Counsel’s ability to seek disciplinary accountability against those who retaliate, and provides the OSC with authority to file friend of the court briefs in support of whistleblower rights cases appealed from the administrative level;
• create a pilot program to extend whistleblower protection to non-defense contractors.
The legislation will be considered at a business meeting of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday November 3rd at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visithttp://oversight.house.gov.