For the past two Congresses, the House of Representatives has passed, with strong bipartisan support, reform legislation that protects federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse. This year, bipartisan support for these reforms advanced in the Senate, and late last week the Senate unanimously approved S. 372, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. This legislation, which reflects a true compromise between Senate and House versions of whistleblower reform, must become law this year.
Protecting whistleblowers is a reform that has strong support across ideological lines. Federal employees, the foot soldiers in the war on waste, fraud and abuse, must get the protections they deserve. They must be able to fight back when they are fired, harassed and demoted in retaliation for their efforts to protect the public health and safety and taxpayer dollars.
Unfortunately, under current law the Merit Systems Protection Board rules against 99% of whistleblowers who file suit to defend themselves against retaliation. Fear of committing career suicide leads federal workers to become silent observers when they witness fraud, waste or abuse, or public safety threats such as the safety violations leading up to the BP oil rig disaster, and the West Virginia mining tragedy.
The House can and must enact a whistleblower reform law that ensures that federal workers who expose waste, fraud and abuse and who are then punished for speaking the truth have the tools they need to fight that retaliation, and win. Ask your Representative and House Leadership to support passage of S. 372, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.