December 10, 2020

Senate Passes Braun-Hassan Legislation to Enhance Whistleblower Protections for Subgrantees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, the United States Senate gave unanimous approval to legislation introduced by Senator Braun (R-IN) and Senator Hassan (D-NH) to enhance statutory protections for subgrantees that blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse.

S. 2315, the Whistleblower Act of 2019 closes loopholes in current law to clarify the scope of whistleblower protections available for employees of federal subgrantees who provide protected disclosures.

“Subgrantees are in an ideal position to hold the federal government accountable for waste, fraud, abuse, and illegal activity, and to help ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars.  I thank my Senate colleagues approving this bill, and urge the House of Representatives to take action on this needed legislation.” – Senator Mike Braun

"Whistleblowers play a key role in identifying waste, fraud, and abuse, and we must ensure that they can come forward without fear of retribution," said Senator Hassan. "I hope the House will follow the Senate's lead in quickly passing this bipartisan bill that will expand whistleblower protections to those with firsthand knowledge of how taxpayer dollars are spent." 

BACKGROUND:

  • With passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Congress expanded whistleblower protections for federal employees, and subsequently expanded whistleblower protections for individuals in certain private-sector employment.
     
  • From time to time, it has been necessary for Congress to refine federal whistleblower laws. In one such instance, Congress enhanced whistleblower protections as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 for federal contractor, subcontractor, and grantee employees on a pilot program basis. Subsequent amendments in 2016 both made the program permanent and sought to enlarge the group of protected individuals to include, among others, federal subgrantee employees.
     
  • While the 2016 amendments explicitly included federal subgrantee employees, coordinated changes were not made in the statute’s related sections. S. 2315, the Whistleblower Act of 2019, closes this gap by clarifying the scope of this whistleblower protections in statute specifically as to employees of federal subgrantees who provide protected disclosures.

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