Holman Rule will defund Garland’s special counsel

Marjorie Taylor Greene Holman Rule Trump investigation
Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is pictured speaking to reporters in Washington, DC on Thursday. She predicted a day later that a majority of the GOP House of Representatives would bring back the Holman Rule and “refute” Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into ex-President Donald Trump.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Georgia GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene says the newly announced Special Counsel investigation into former President Donald Trump will be “defunded” after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed veteran federal prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to handle the criminal investigation into Trump regarding classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago home and his activities related to the attack on the US Capitol from January 6 to direct.

Greene predicted that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will reinstate a little-known House rule after he was elected Speaker in January, and then Republicans moved to stall the investigation over lack of funds.

“Holman rule. Look it up!” Green tweeted on Friday. “@GOPLeader will set it up. That means no money for Garland’s politically armed special counsel. Don’t promise too many jobs!

The Holman Rule, introduced in the House of Representatives in 1876, allows congressmen to propose changes to budget bills that target specific programs or individuals. Programs and certain workers may be paid or fired under the rule.

Critics of the rule have said it allows members of Congress to unethically target individuals and government agencies for political ends, gives too much power to House agents, and could potentially cripple the federal government.

When Republicans restored rule in early 2017, the National Federation of Federal Employees warned that this was “nothing more than a freeway for the politically corrupt to seize executive branch power.”

Republicans could potentially reinstate the rule in January. Before its reinstatement in 2017, the Holman Rule had not been in effect since 1983. It was overturned after Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2019.

However, since the majority in the Republican House of Representatives will likely be razor thin and will include some members with political philosophies that differ from Greene’s, it’s not clear whether the new leadership would be able to easily follow the rule.

Three Republicans voted against the rules package that included the provision before it was reinstated in 2017, while three others disagreed. A similar outcome, combined with a unified Democratic opposition, could potentially block change in the next Congress.

Even if the Holman Rule returns, using it to stop the investigation could prove difficult. Both the House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate would have to vote to approve any changes proposed under the rule.

The Republican legislature tried several times to apply the rule in 2017 and 2018, with none of its amendments ultimately passing.

If the Republicans succeed in reintroducing the rule and passing a corresponding amendment in the next Congress, President Joe Biden would still have to sign the attached law.

Sarah Binder, a professor of political science at George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Science, said news week that she suspects any Republican attempt to frustrate the investigation with the rule “would backfire.”

“I don’t realize that Republicans would even get 218 votes to pass the bill,” Binder said. “Even if the House of Representatives were successful, I doubt a Democrat-led Senate would approve a spending bill that relieves Justice Department staff conducting lawful investigations.”

Binder said she also doubted whether “Senate GOP leaders would necessarily support the efforts of their colleagues in the House.”

“Although Trump’s vocal House supporters might think this is a strong threat, I would be skeptical their efforts would bear fruit,” she added.

news week has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.

Trump proposed his own actions on Friday to stop the special counsel’s investigation. The former president told Fox News Digital that the investigation was “the worst politicization of the judiciary in our country” and that he would simply refuse to “participate” in it.

Laurence Tribe, professor emeritus of constitutional law at Harvard University, said news week that Trump’s remark that he would decline to attend “certainly tops the list” of “all the ridiculous things the former narcissist boss has ever said.”

Update 11/18 11:12pm ET: This article has been updated to include comments from Sarah Binder, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University.

https://www.newsweek.com/marjorie-taylor-greene-holman-rule-will-defund-garlands-special-counsel-1760797 Holman Rule will defund Garland’s special counsel

Rick Schindler

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