House Republicans approved a rule this week that could allow lawmakers to cut individual federal workers’ pay to just $1, the Washington Post reported. The Holman Rule, which was written up in 1876, was approved on Tuesday as a provision in a larger legislative package that was largely ignored due to timing, as Republicans pushed to gut the House ethics office.
The Holman rule enables Congress to propose a general appropriation bill or an amendment with the purpose of cutting spending by targeting specific federal workers and programs. “This is part of a very chilling theme that federal workers are seeing right now,” Maureen Gilman, legislative director for the National Treasury Employees Union told the Post.
While it’s unlikely that the rule would be used successfully to cut federal workers’ pay — since its use to do so could only be passed with approval from a majority of the House and Senate — that it was introduced at all is troubling to some.
According to the report, lawmakers from Virginia and Maryland find it especially concerning because they represent a large number of federal workers in DC.
The report notes that the proposition is also of concern because of the role President-elect Donald Trump has taken to change the way the U.S. government works.
According to the Hill, the provision comes soon after Trump’s transition team requested lists of federal employees, like scientists who work in the Energy Department.