WASHINGTON, D.C. | November 2, 2021 — Amendments to the False Claims Act (FCA) introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, October 28th where the bill now awaits a vote by the full Senate. The amendments passed with 15 Yeas and 7 Nays.
Senator Grassley’s False Claims Act Amendments of 2021 (S.2428) would protect whistleblowers from retaliation and blacklisting and streamline legal adjudication processes if passed. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) strongly supports the bill and urges the Senate to swiftly pass the amendments.
Harmful interpretations by lower courts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar have skewed congressional intent regarding the FCA, with reinterpretations of “materiality” opening the door for collusion and fraudulent contracts and procurement. If passed, the bill would close these loopholes, clarifying that the government does not need to stop payment on a potentially fraudulent contract in order to have the fraudsters held accountable.
Siri Nelson, NWC Executive Director, said, “We commend the fifteen committee members who took the side of the whistleblower, frontline worker, and the taxpayer and advanced this bill. Congress as a whole should follow suit and take bipartisan action to support these needed improvements to an incredibly powerful – and empowering – law.”
Stephen Kohn, NWC Board Chair and leading whistleblower attorney, said, “This is a major victory for accountability and a blow to the efforts of special interests led by the Chamber of Commerce and American Hospital Association to undermine whistleblower rights. The AHA and Chamber fought hard to defeat this bill. Today they lost. Now the fight moves to the full Senate. A good day for whistleblowers.”
NWC commends the 15 Yeas on the Judiciary Committee: Senators Booker (D-NJ), Coons (D-DE), Cornyn (R-TX), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Hirono (D-HI), Kennedy (R-LA), Leahy (D-VT), Padilla (D-CA), Ossoff (D-GA), and Whitehouse (D-RI). The Nays included Senators Blackburn (R-TN), Cotton (R-AR), Cruz (R-TX), Hawley (R-MO), Lee (R-UT), Sasse (R-NE), and Tillis (R-NC).
On October 20th, NWC sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Senator Grassley’s Manager’s Amendment to S.2428, offering strong support for the amendment and urging the Committee’s full support.
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