Over two million people are employed by the federal government, and too many of them have enjoyed unprecedented levels of job security even when they’ve failed at their duties. This undue protection has bloated the federal budget, and the new Congress aims to trim the fat by revising a rule started a decade after the Civil War.

The Holman Rule, adopted in 1876 as a means to control the booming national debt post-war, gives lawmakers the power to target wasteful programs, spending, and has also been used to eliminate individual federal employees or groups of employees.

“Depending on how lawmakers use the rule,” Reuters noted, “they could undermine long-standing civil service protections, such as ensuring that federal employees with the same job title are paid equally regardless of performance.” A worrisome idea to Democrats who fear the rule might be used for nefarious political purposes.

But conservatives and other small-government minded people and organizations love the idea. Freedom Works director Jason Pye said, “There are too many people working in the federal government, too many federal agencies; there’s an alphabet soup. What we’re simply saying is the federal government has grown too big.”

As The Washington Examiner reported, “Up to now, firing even the worst federal bureaucrat has been very, very difficult, so difficult that voters no longer control the agencies they employ and that govern their lives.”

“Who runs this country, the people of the United States or the people on the people’s payroll?” asked Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA).

The Examiner noted that because the rule requires an act of Congress, it won’t be invoked willy-nilly; only when necessary, as in the following examples:

Take Elizabeth Rivera of Puerto Rico, for example, who was restored to her job at the Department of Veterans Affairs after pleading guilty to involvement in an armed robbery. Her union not only thwarted managers’ attempts to fire her but even successfully won back pay for the period when she had been off the job. As part of its argument for her reinstatement, officials of the American Federation of Government Employees pointed out that her manager at the agency is also a convicted sex offender…

Internal Revenue Service employees who deleted Lois Lerner’s emails when they were under congressional subpoena were not fired. Aside from a few scapegoats, the VA employees who systematically manipulated the agency’s computer system at more than 100 facilities, harming veterans to win themselves performance bonuses, were not fired. Two VA managers who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their agency could not be fired. Nor could many of those implicated in the notorious scandal involving a General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas in 2010.

Why should corrupt federal employees enjoy protections not afforded to other hard-working Americans? A healthy fear of losing your job is always a good thing. The Holman Rule will help ensure the most qualified people are earning taxpayer dollars and will tell those that are abusing the system that they aren’t guaranteed a job just because they work in Washington.

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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