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Rep.-Elect Raskin: GOP Rules Change Targets Federal Workers, Sets Stage to Ravage Social Safety Net

January 2, 2017
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Representative-elect Jamie Raskin (MD-08) is raising serious concerns about the House Republicans’ proposed rule changes for the 115th Congress. Members will vote on the House rules package, H. Res. 5, after they are sworn in on Tuesday, January 3rd. The Republicans’ proposed rules package would impose a number of significant changes, including one provision that would authorize the Sergeant-at-Arms to unilaterally exercise the House of Representatives’ power to punish Members--without any due process at all. He has identified two more “deeply troubling” provisions that would target federal workers in the appropriations process; and set the stage for an on attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Exposing Federal Workers to Individual Attack – Section 3(a) of H. Res. 5

“This change would reinstate the so-called ‘Holman Rule’ to allow provisions reducing federal workers’ salaries, and even abolishing their positions, to be slipped into general appropriation bills,” said Raskin. “The same people who are asking agencies to ‘name names’ of federal employees who are working on climate change, or other politically incorrect projects, now want to weaponize the appropriations process in the coming war against the federal workforce. Not only do they want Cabinet Secretaries who oppose the mission of their departments, they want to be able to target individual federal employees for salary cuts and to threaten them en masse with wholesale firing.”

“The war on science, health care, and the environment is fast becoming a war on the federal workforce,” Raskin noted. “We rely on federal workers to make scientific progress, to protect the environment, to move our economy, to care for our veterans, to protect our country’s borders, to deliver our Social Security checks, and to make America work. We should not turn the clock back on House rules to permit the targeting and scapegoating of federal employees and the politicization of the civil service.”

Attacking Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – Section 2(b) of H. Res. 5

This change would require our House committees to recommend moving programs from ‘mandatory funding’ to ‘discretionary funding’ in their oversight plans,” Raskin observed. “This is the first step to privatizing Social Security, voucherizing Medicare, and vaporizing Medicaid in block-grants. The GOP clearly seeks to dismantle the guaranteed funding mechanisms for the programs that serve the aged, people with disabilities, and our most vulnerable citizens. Exposing these programs to the vagaries of the annual appropriations process is dangerous for millions of Americans who depend on them to survive. They’re turning the nation’s safety net into a tight rope.”

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