GOP bill would cut off Holder’s pay

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) on Tuesday released a bill that would cut off pay to federal officials such as Attorney General Eric Holder who have been held in contempt of Congress.

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The release of the measure comes a week after the House Oversight Committee approved contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner for her refusal to testify about the agency's targeting of conservative nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status. A full House vote is expected in the coming weeks.

"The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior. If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded," Farenthold said.

Under Farenthold's bill, a resolution holding an official in contempt would have to be adopted by either the House or Senate. Contempt resolutions would not have to be cleared by both chambers of Congress in order for a federal official to lose their pay.

The officials would receive paychecks again once the House or Senate adopted a resolution revoking the contempt charges.

If the charges were not revoked, the officials held in contempt would continue to be unpaid even if a new session of Congress began.

Holder is the highest-ranking Obama administration official to be held in contempt of Congress. The House approved those charges against the attorney general in 2012.

Lerner, the former director of tax-exempt organizations at the IRS, retired from the agency in September, but she was on paid administrative leave for four months when she refused to resign at the start of the investigation. 

The House Oversight Committee has not yet scheduled a markup of the bill. If approved by the panel, it would go to the full House for a vote.