BREAKING: U.S. House Approves McCaskill Whistleblower Protection Bill, Heads to President’s Desk
Senator, longtime advocate for strengthening accountability in government, extending protections for those who raise the alarm on waste, has worked to protect whistleblowers at federal agencies & extend protections for contractors, grantees, subcontractors and subgrantees
WASHINGTON – In another step toward strengthening accountability in government, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s Senate-approved legislation to extend whistleblower protections has been approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives and now heads to the President’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.
McCaskill’s bill would extend and make permanent current whistleblower protections to nearly all federal government grantees, subgrantees, contractors and subcontractors, as well as prohibit contractors from being reimbursed for legal fees accrued in their defense against retaliation claims by whistleblowers.
“We’ve got an enormous contracting workforce in the federal government, and we’ve got to make sure that all of our contractors have the same whistleblower protections as the government employees they work alongside—because these folks are the ones raising the alarm on waste, fraud, and abuse of power,” said McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor who was just named the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the top committee for oversight and accountability in government. “Now that this legislation is finally headed to the President’s desk, these whistleblowers get the long-overdue protections they deserve, enabling them to act as the eyes and ears of taxpayers across the federal government.”
Currently, whistleblower protections apply only to contractors, grant recipients, subcontractors, but not to employees of subgrantees, even though the federal government distributes billions in grant funding each year, much of which gets passed through to other organizations. McCaskill’s legislation also makes permanent existing civilian contractor and grantee whistleblower protections, which are currently set to expire next year. In 2015, McCaskill successfully included a provision in the annual defense bill extending whistleblower protections to all Department of Defense contractors, subcontractors, grantees and subgrantees.
In September, McCaskill introduced legislation to expand protections for whistleblowers after a recent government watchdog report, completed at McCaskill’s request, detailed examples of retaliation and intimidation against whistleblowers by contractors at the Department of Energy—which has the largest civilian contracting workforce in the federal government.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/accountability to read more about McCaskill’s fight for stronger accountability in Washington.