WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and House Democrats from the National Capital Region today announced that they have secured the removal of the Holman Rule from H. Res. 6, the Rules package for the 116th Congress. The Holman Rule allows restrictions on federal offices and programs, including the reduction of individual salaries, to be added to must-pass appropriations legislation.
Congressmen Hoyer, Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin, Reps.-elect Jennifer Wexton and David Trone, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton issued the following joint statement:
“With our first votes, House Democrats – led by Members from the National Capital Region – will demonstrate our commitment to restoring support for the federal workforce in Congress. 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.
“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. 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.”
The Holman Rule was originally established in 1876 as part of a contentious fight over civil service reform. It enabled the House to use federal appropriations language to cut individual salaries, programs, or office sizes. The provision was discarded in 1983, but House Republicans revived it at the beginning of the previous session of Congress. They attempted to use the Holman Rule at least twice during that session, without success.
Federal employees have been subjected to repeated attacks by President Trump and Congressional Republicans over the past two years. On Friday, the Trump Administration formally froze the pay of the federal workforce for 2019.
The news that the Holman Rule would be discarded came as House Democrats announced immediate votes at the beginning of the 116th Congress to reopen the government with a series of spending bills which have already passed in either the full Senate or the Senate Appropriations Committee with near-unanimous bipartisan support. Today is the twelfth day of the partial government shutdown, during which approximately 420,000 federal employees are working without pay and another estimated 380,000 are furloughed. House Democrats, again led by National Capital Region Members, are preparing legislation to authorize back pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown.