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house Bill H.R. 4639

Does the Agency Protecting Federal Whistleblowers Need to be Reauthorized?

Argument in favor

Waste and abuse will always plague the federal government unless whistleblowers are empowered to speak up and protected when they do, so this bill to reauthorize the entity that protects them must pass.

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06/21/2016
If whistleblowers are not protected, waste, fraud, and abuse will continue to be common place in American politics, and general way of life.
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Leo's Opinion
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06/21/2016
Whistleblowers always suffer for their courageous actions. Such bravery deserves respect and protection.
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Jason's Opinion
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06/21/2016
Whistleblowers should be afforded all rights and protections for pulling the curtain back on companies or governments that are doing business illegally or against the conscious of American ideals.
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Argument opposed

There is no doubt that whistleblowers should be protected from retaliation, but this bill creates additional burdens for agencies being investigated for improper actions against whistleblowers by the Office of Special Counsel.

Jim2423's Opinion
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06/21/2016
Yes they need protection. The government is the biggest, easiest agency to be ripped off. There are employees, managers, outside contractors that rip off the government everyday. So yes whistle blowers should be protected. Even if it happens to be a lonely employee or a supervisor that sees fault. Even if is a person like Snowden. It all needs to be cleaned up. Then the courts can rule if illegal or legal operations were going on. It is better to yell out than be quiet and get ripped off or folks not doing their job.
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Scott's Opinion
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06/22/2016
What's the point, it doesn't actually protect them anyway.
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Anthony's Opinion
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07/12/2016
why this bill it already exist and it got snowden a life sentence in Russia renewing a bad bill no we need a new bill I guess its ok if you like cold weather or looking for a new job with out any references
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed June 21st, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 26th, 2016

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What is House Bill H.R. 4639?

This bill would reauthorize the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) — which is responsible for protecting current, former, and prospective federal employees from retaliation for whistleblowing — through fiscal year 2020. Whistleblowers report abuse, illegal activity, mismanagement of funds, or other prohibited practices within the government and have at times faced retaliation for their efforts, with some being forced out of their jobs.

The OSC’s process for investigating whistleblower complaints would be reformed to make it easier for it to collect evidence from agencies that are withholding information and documents from investigations. Rather than only having 15 days to review a complaint, the OSC could spend 45 days in review and require an agency being investigated to explain why it hadn’t taken action to address a problem reported by the OSC.

To ensure that the OSC isn’t bogged down by repeated complaints, the agency could end an investigation if it has previously been informed of an allegation by the same person, if it doesn’t have jurisdiction, or if the person should have known more than three years before the OSC was alerted.

Impact

Whistleblowers, whether they’re current, former, or prospective federal employees; federal agencies being investigated by the OSC; and the OSC.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4639

$106.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $106 million over the 2017-2021 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) introduced this bill to ensure that the OSC can continue to protect whistleblowers who report misconduct within the federal government:

“The [OSC] plays a key role in protecting federal employees who have the courage to blow the whistle on abuse and mismanagement in our government. As those employees who called attention to the mistreatment of veterans the the Veterans’ Affairs hospitals know first hand, the OSC is critically important to protect whistleblowers like them from potential retaliation from federal agencies.”

This legislation was passed unanimously by the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform and has the support of three cosponsors — including two Democrats and a Republican.


Of Note: The Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently settled with a whistleblower who faced serious retaliation as a result of his reporting that the VA was violating its own policy of assigning one employee to every suicidal veteran. The worker, Brandon Coleman, had created a successful suicide prevention program that was then eliminated by the VA after he disclosed the VA’s misconduct.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user ell brown)

AKA

Thoroughly Investigating Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Act

Official Title

To reauthorize the Office of Special Counsel, to amend title 5, United States Code, to provide modifications to authorities relating to the Office of Special Counsel, and for other purposes.

    If whistleblowers are not protected, waste, fraud, and abuse will continue to be common place in American politics, and general way of life.
    Like (18)
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    Yes they need protection. The government is the biggest, easiest agency to be ripped off. There are employees, managers, outside contractors that rip off the government everyday. So yes whistle blowers should be protected. Even if it happens to be a lonely employee or a supervisor that sees fault. Even if is a person like Snowden. It all needs to be cleaned up. Then the courts can rule if illegal or legal operations were going on. It is better to yell out than be quiet and get ripped off or folks not doing their job.
    Like (5)
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    All corruption must be exposed.
    Like (14)
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    Whistleblowers always suffer for their courageous actions. Such bravery deserves respect and protection.
    Like (13)
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    Whistleblowers should be afforded all rights and protections for pulling the curtain back on companies or governments that are doing business illegally or against the conscious of American ideals.
    Like (10)
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    The people who know the most about fraud and abuse in a particular agency are the employees who are most likely to lose their jobs if they speak out. Let's encourage them, not threaten them with unemployment.
    Like (5)
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    I'm sure we have patriots working in the Federal Government who wish to be helpful in pointing out waste in spending or pure fraud perpetrated by employees. Let's reauthorize the Whistleblower Act.
    Like (5)
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    These brave people are the ONLY reason we know THE UNTOLD TRUTHS...
    Like (5)
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    Yes, we shouldn't need one but the "most transparent administration ever" is a trend of threats and retribution that will continue if not abated.
    Like (4)
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    We absolutely need a law protecting those that expose corruption in the government. Companies are legally required to not retaliate, shouldn't the government have to live up to their own standards? To be fair, it hasn't done much good, as corruption still runs rampant today.
    Like (4)
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    Yes! Citizens need protection from the government.
    Like (4)
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    Whistleblowers deserve protection just like the people deserve to know what's going on in government.
    Like (3)
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    Whistleblowers should be protected.
    Like (3)
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    Government always needs more checks and balances
    Like (3)
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    Always need to protect and honor whistleblowers, I'm sure someone sitting in Russia wishes that we do.
    Like (3)
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    Needs to be reauthorize and made permanent.
    Like (2)
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    I think whistleblowers should definitely have federal protection. This is supposed to be the Land of the Free. I also think Edward Snowden should be able to come back without fearing getting arrested. Whistleblowers are essential to keep this country free.
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    Yes! Of course! The courage to speak an ugly truth requires a great more protection than telling a pretty lie
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    There are not enough whistle blowers. They definitely should be sheltered. Just my opinion
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    People in this country as a whole have a responsibility to protect those individuals that come out at their own risk to shed light on unlawful, unethical or corrupt behavior.
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