Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, lauded passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (S. 743), which will strengthen protections for federal employees who disclose government waste, fraud, abuse, or illegal activity.
Below are key excerpts from his statement on the bill:
"This bill will significantly expand the protections available to government whistleblowers. Whistleblowers risk their careers to challenge abuses of power and the mismanagement of government resources. Protecting the rights of whistleblowers is critical for rooting out waste and fraud within the government.
"This bill will protect all lawful disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse. Court decisions have narrowed the scope of protected disclosures in a way that the Office of Special Counsel says handcuffs it in its efforts to protect whistleblowers.
"This bill provides whistleblower protections to Transportation Security Administration employees. Current law leaves TSA employees unprotected. Giving Transportation Security Officers the same protections as other federal employees will encourage the disclosure of issues that may threaten the safety of our airports.
"I know this bill represents a compromise based on the political realities of today. But the fight is not over. I will continue to fight for the protections that are not in this bill and hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in that fight.
"We need to provide meaningful rights to whistleblowers in the intelligence community and we need to amend the law to allow whistleblowers the ability to go to court and have their case heard by a jury.
"I hope that this bill will have a clear path to the President's desk and become law. I urge every Member of Congress to stand up for whistleblowers, to stand up for good government, to pass this legislation, and then to join me tomorrow to continue the fight for whistleblower protections."
On November 3, 2011, the Oversight Committee unanimously passed H.R. 3289, the "Platts-Van Hollen Whistleblower Protection Act of 2011," which addresses a host of gaps in the protections afforded to federal whistleblowers.