The House has passed HR-657, to clarify that protections against retaliation apply to any federal employee who refuses to obey an order that would require the employee to violate a rule or regulation. Sponsors say that has been the understanding of Congress traditionally; however, a court decision held that those protections apply only for employees who refuse to obey an order that would require them to break a law, not just a rule or regulation. A similar bill (S-576) is pending in the Senate.

Also, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has approved HR-2195, to strengthen the Office of Special Counsel’s access to agency documents and other information as investigates alleged prohibited personnel practices, including whistleblower retaliation; HR-2196, to extend the OSC’s jurisdiction to protect all whistleblower disclosures made by employees of agencies within its jurisdiction; and HR-2229, to make permanent a pilot program to allow all federal circuit courts to hear whistleblower retaliation claim appeals from the MSPB, rather than just the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit–that court has made a number of restrictive rulings over the years including the one regarding employees who refuse to obey orders that would require them to violate a rule or regulation.