H.R. 6186, Follow the Rules Act

H.R. 6186

Follow the Rules Act

Sponsor
Rep. Sean Duffy

Date
November 30, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Wednesday, November 30, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 6186, the Follow the Rules Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 6186 was introduced on September 27, 2016, by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which ordered the bill reported, by voice vote, on November 16, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 6186 extends whistleblower protections for federal employees who refuse to violate rules and regulations.

Background

The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) generally provides protections for federal employees who make disclosures evidencing illegal or improper government activities. In order to trigger the protections of the WPA, a case must contain the following elements: a “personnel action” that was taken because of a “protected disclosure” made by a “covered employee.”[1]

Recently, a Federal court ruled that the WPA safeguards federal workers against employment retaliation for refusing orders to violate Federal law, but those same safeguards do not apply to employees who refuse to violate rules and regulations. An example can include the following: Consider sanctions against North Korea which Congress directed the President to promulgate in the form of Federal rules and regulations. Under current law, Federal employees who are told by their supervisor(s) to violate North Korean sanctions have no whistleblower protections.[2]

According to the bill’s sponsor, “Whistleblowers play a key role in rooting out the bad actors who stand in the way of good government. However, a gap in whistleblower protections is threatening their ability to stand-up for what is right. The Whistleblower Protection Act provides Federal workers with certain legal safeguards to disclose if they are being asked to break a law, but the same protections do not apply to those who are ordered to violate rules and regulations.”[3]

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[1] See CRS Report Whistleblower Protections Under Federal Law: An Overview, at 15.
[2] See Rep. Duffy Press Release September 28, 2016.
[3] Id.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently not available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1828.