H.R. 2196 would amend the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) to extend protections to disclosures of classified information to any supervisor in an employee’s chain of command. Under current law, only disclosures to a direct supervisor are protected.
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) hears claims against federal agencies brought by whistleblowers. Expanding the scope of the protections to include additional supervisors could increase the number of such hearings and any related costs (such as those related to job restoration, back pay, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees, and medical costs). However, based on information from the MSPB and the Office of Special Counsel about the likely number of additional cases under the act, CBO expects that additional cases dealing with disclosures of classified information would be very limited in number. Thus, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 2196 would have no significant cost.
Enacting the legislation could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any net increase in spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting H.R. 2196 would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2196 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
H.R. 2196 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
On May 22, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for H.R. 2196, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on May 2, 2017. The two versions of the legislation are similar and the estimated budgetary effects are the same.