Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced legislation Monday that would extend federal whistle-blower protections to Congressional staff and other legislative branch employees. The new shields would be added to the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, created to end legislative branch exemptions from 11 laws covering civil rights, fair employment and discrimination.
While that law offers general protections from retaliation in the workplace, it does not contain specific safeguards for employees who report misconduct such as fraud or health-safety violations.
“Whistle-blowers are the key to exposing a dysfunctional bureaucracy,” Grassley said on Monday, later adding: “It is simply not fair, nor is it good governance for Congress to enact whistle-blower protections on the other branches of government without giving its own employees the same consideration.”
The Office of Compliance, which is charged with enforcement of the CAA, has sought the addition of whistle-blower protections in recent years. Acting Executive Director Tamara Chrisler applauded the legislation on Tuesday.
Fond Farewell. In what likely will be his last appearance before a Senate subcommittee that oversees his city, Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams (D) earned praise from Members of Congress for the “dramatic improvement” made in the District during his eight-year term.
Appearing alongside other city leaders at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing Tuesday, Williams discussed the successes of his time leading the District — fiscal stability, city service improvements, economic development, citizen engagement — and added that work is needed on public safety, education and voting rights.
Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) both commended Williams for his work in stabilizing D.C. finances and encouraging economic growth throughout the city.
The hearing also served to set priorities for the next administration. Voinovich and Akaka both said improving the city’s lagging education system must be a top priority.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.