On July 29, 2009 the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs unanimously reported out of committee S. 372, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009. Unfortunately, this bill contains many significant differences from the House Bill (H.R. 1507), which the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) fully supports.
This post is the twelfth in a series of twelve, examining specific weaknesses in the Senate Bill. Each installment examines a crucial issue of whistleblower rights compromised by the Senate’s version of the bill.
XII: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WHITE HOUSE?
I had the “honor” of being involved in the initial discussion process with the White House and reviewing the proposals circulated by the White House. I could spend the rest of this blog venting my frustration over what did and did not happen as a result of that process, but I won’t.
The bottom line is that President Obama did promise, on numerous occasions, to support whistleblowers. He did specifically endorse the framework for protection set forth in the House bill.
These promises are easy to fulfill. S. 372 can be amended on the Senate to make the law consistent with President Obama’s campaign promises – and consistent with the goal of providing real protection to federal employee whistleblowers.
It is time for the White House to stop listening to those who benefit from whistleblowers being silenced. President Obama must demand that his staff fully and immediately implement the promises he made to every American whistleblower during his campaign.
It is a promise that he must keep.
President Obama stated that whistleblowers are the “watchdogs of wrongdoing” and should have “full access to courts and due process.” The President must take a leadership role and ensure that the whistleblower bill that passes in the Senate is consistent with his campaign promises.
When the next disaster hits – and it turns out there was a whistleblower trying to warn the public before people were hurt – will President Obama be able to stand before the voters and say that he did his best, that he fulfilled his promise? Or will he be accused of abandoning the courageous employees who tried to “do the right thing?”