How to Rapidly Cut Federal Employee Salaries and Agency Programs

Jan 25, 2017


spending and salaries

With an incoming administration in Washington, DC, there have been talks of cutting federal employee salaries and agency spending. And it seems like a real possibility due to the return of the Holman Rule.

What is the Holman Rule?

Congressman Holman served in 16 Congresses and died in 1877. He was a frugal man, with an intense opposition to federal spending. The Holman Rule was introduced in 1876 and its purpose was to cut government spending. It gave the House Committee on Appropriations the authority to cut back on spending. They did this by reducing the number of federal officials and cutting the salary of federal officials. The rule also allows members of Congress to target specific federal workers for firing or salary reduction and target individual government offices for reduction or elimination.

How can the Holman Rule, eliminated in 1983, affect federal workers now?

Impact of the Holman Rule

Adopted on January 2, 2017, the Holman Rule is back in operation under the Rules of the 115th Congress. These House Rules specifically state that the Holman Rule will serve the following purpose:

“The purpose of this provision is to see if the reinstatement of the Holman Rule will provide Members with additional tools to reduce spending during consideration of the regular general appropriation bill.”

It also enables the House of Representatives to reduce the number of federal employees at specific agencies or cut their pay. Basically, this allows Congress to reduce the workforce or compensation for employees in agencies covered by a specific spending bill where the provision or amendment is included.

Agency and Employee Impacts

These rules would allow the cutting back on programs in agencies through the appropriations process. In a press release, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had this to say:

“Today, the House of Representatives will consider a rules package that aims to further undermine civil service employees’ protections by stripping away necessary safeguards. Reinstating the so-called ‘Holman Rule’ would allow any member of Congress to simply offer an amendment that could reduce the salary of any federal employee, or eliminate a federal employee’s position without hearings, testimony, or due process.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) had a similar position:

“The so-called Holman Rule undermines civil service protections for the millions of working people who process our Social Security checks, safeguard our borders, support our military, research cures for deadly diseases, and carry out programs and services that are vital to our nation. Reviving this rule means lawmakers will be able to vote to cut the pay and jobs of individual workers or groups of workers without getting input from the agencies where these employees work.”

President-elect Donald Trump has called for a hiring freeze and also a decrease in size of government after a thorough agency review. He wants a list from department heads on any wasteful and unnecessary regulations so he can eliminate them. The Holman Rule would make it quicker and easier to accomplish this.

Federal Disability Retirement

Any new transition in Washington comes with changes and the promise of change. While we don’t know what exactly will happen, it’s important to know these proposed changes. If you are thinking about leaving federal service now, we want you to be aware of all your options. Many federal employees don’t know about the federal disability retirement benefit; available to all federal workers who meet the eligibility requirements. You may qualify for it and not even know. If this applies to you, call our office and see if we can help you get your benefits. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. The consultation is always FREE!

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