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Md. Dems Move to Ax Obscure Rule Targeting Feds

Maryland Democrats on Capitol Hill are declaring victory in their bid to kill a contentious policy that targets federal workers.

House lawmakers announced Wednesday that they had effectively pushed to remove the Holman Rule from the rules package slated for a vote Thursday after the 116th Congress convenes.

The obscure Holman Rule allows lawmakers to use appropriations bills to slash individual government employees’ salaries, fire specific federal workers, or target government programs for cuts. It’s named after the late Indiana Rep. William Holman (D), who first advanced the rule in 1876.

Republicans reinstated the rule in early 2017 for the first time since 1983 to the chagrin of Democrats and federal employees who feared political attacks on civil servants.

“By eliminating the Holman Rule from the House Rules package for the 116th Congress, Democrats will end an underhanded GOP tactic to sneak attacks on federal employees into must-pass bills,” said a statement released by Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. They included Maryland Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, Anthony G. Brown and Jamie Raskin and Rep.-elect David J. Trone.

In addition to the new rules package, the newly empowered House Democrats are expected to vote Thursday on measures to end the government shutdown. It’s unclear, however, whether that effort will move Congress and President Trump any closer to ending the political stalemate that led federal agencies to shutter.

“As we remove the Holman Rule, we are also seeking solutions to end Trump’s government shutdown and his 2019 pay freeze for the civil service,” the Democratic lawmakers said yesterday.

“Federal employees work in every Congressional district to provide vital services that help keep our nation healthy, safe, and strong, and their ill treatment at the hands of the Trump Administration and Republican leaders is one of the most disgraceful elements of the past two years. That era is now over, and we will continue to ensure that House Democrats use our Majority to fight for feds.”

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Md. Dems Move to Ax Obscure Rule Targeting Feds