Another great coup for the centrists!
Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine GOP dealmaker who's been in the limelight this week for helping to pass a watered down stimulus, has been talking a good game about the need to avoid wasting taxpayer money. But it looks like Collins also worked today to strip from the final bill a measure that's crucial to exposing that waste.
Here's what happened:
The House stimulus bill contained a provision designed to protect federal whistleblowers. Currently, those protections are shockingly weak. According to the Project On Government Oversight, whistleblowers who are fired or demoted can file a complaint with a government board - but over the last eight years, that board has ruled in favor of whistleblowers only twice in 55 cases.
More to the point, the protections were designed to encourage federal workers to point out cases where taxpayer money is subject to waste, fraud, or abuse - a legitimate concern when Congress spends $800 billion, and one that centrists and Republicans have been particularly exercised about.
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