Freedom Caucus eyes federal worker pay cuts, slashing programs through House rule change
Members of the House Freedom Caucus are pushing Republican leadership to make it easier to slash the salaries of specific federal workers or even entire programs.
Reinstating the so-called Holman Rule would allow any House lawmaker to propose cuts to federal spending when appropriations bills are being considered, including firing specific federal workers, cutting their pay dramatically or cutting a certain program or programs. The rule was revived in 2017 and never used, but some lawmakers already have some ideas who they want to target.
On the same day the Justice Department appointed Jack Smith as the special counsel to run the department’s investigations into former President Trump, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., indicated that Republicans would use the rule to defund Smith’s salary.
'Holman Rule. Look it up!' Greene tweeted on Nov. 18. '@GOPLeader is going to put it in place. That means no money for Garland’s politically weaponized Special Counsel.'
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office didn’t return requests for comment on whether he would reinstate the Holman Rule when Republicans take control of the House in January.
But on Tuesday, another Freedom Caucus member urged lawmakers to reactivate the Holman Rule next year.
Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., told the House Rules Committee that the Holman Rule would give more power to members to push for specific spending cuts. He noted that both the House and the Senate need to approve these amendments, and that it has historically been very difficult to approve these measures – he estimated about a dozen have been approved over the several decades when the rule was in effect.
Nonetheless, Griffith said the House should approve the rule change next year so members can 'exercise the will of the people through the people’s house.'
'I think it’s a tool that we ought to have as member,' he said. 'It’s a safety valve that allows members to say, ‘Wait a minute. This agency isn’t working right and we think there’s a better way to do it.’'
A congressional aide told Fox News Digital that several conversations have been held on the rule between GOP leadership and members of the House Freedom Caucus, and that those talks are ongoing.
The Holman Rule was first adopted in 1876 and named after Rep. William Holman of Indiana, and has fallen out of favor in the decades since it was first introduced. After it returned in 2017, Griffith unsuccessfully tried to use the Holman Rule to cut 89 employees at the Congressional Budget Office.
During the Tuesday Rules Committee hearing, Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., indicated Democrats would continue to oppose reinstatement of the Holman Rule just as they have in the past.
'In my experience, the Holman rule has been used to attack staff,' McGovern said.
A spokesperson for the House Freedom Caucus did not immediately respond to questions about the group’s effort to reinstate the rule, how likely GOP leaders are to bring the rule back, and which other federal workers they might be targeting.
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