House Passage of Taxpayer Accountability Amendment Safeguards Stimulus Dollars

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House Passage of Taxpayer Accountability Amendment Safeguards Stimulus Dollars
A Joint Statement by GAP, American Federation of Government
Employees, Common Cause, National Whistleblowers Center, National
Employment Lawyers Association, Project On Government Oversight,
Public Citizen, Union of Concerned Scientists, and U.S. Bill of Rights
Foundation

 

Click here to read the letter, sent on Thursday, January 29.

(Washington, D.C) – Our nine organizations today are offering our public
support and appreciation for the House’s unanimous acceptance of a taxpayer
accountability amendment yesterday.

The bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Reps. Todd Platts (R-PA)
and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) ensures that federal workers who expose
waste, fraud and abuse in government will be protected from retaliation.
Current whistleblower laws on the books fail to protect federal
whistleblowers from being fired, demoted or harassed. Since 1994, federal
workers who were retaliated against have won less than one percent of their
cases.

The House amendment incorporates the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Henry
Waxman (D-CA) and then-Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), in addition to
Representatives Platts and Van Hollen in the last Congress. The House
overwhelmingly approved the bill by a bipartisan vote of 331 to 94 in March
2007.

The Platts/VanHollen amendment had the strong backing of House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who went to the House floor to speak for its
passage. The Speaker wisely understood that the amendment guarantees that
the stimulus package will disburse federal dollars in the most effective and
transparent way.

Our groups agree with the Speaker that “It is inconceivable that the
people’s business had been conducted so long without whistleblower
protections to encourage every public employee to do the right
thing…whistleblowers save extraordinary sums of money, protect the
integrity of research done in federal labs, and restore public confidence in the
work of our nation.”

Our groups also appreciate the support of House Oversight and
Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Homeland Security
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), and Rep.
Chellie Pingree (D-ME), all who issued statements in favor of the
amendment.

We urge the Senate to ensure that its stimulus package, and the final stimulus
law sent to the president, contains these strong whistleblower protections.
Protecting federal whistleblowers is the best way to protect taxpayers and
American families.

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