Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate: H.R. 5920: Whistleblower Protections for Contractors Act   [open pdf - 19KB]

"H.R. 5920 would amend federal law to permanently extend legal protections to certain nonfederal employees (contractors, subcontractors, grantees, and others employed by entities that receive federal funds) who report waste, fraud, or abuse involving federal funds. Specifically, under the bill, anyone who reports the misuse of federal funds could not be demoted, discharged, or discriminated against because of the disclosure. The current four-year pilot program that extends those same protections ends in December 2016. The cost to implement H.R. 5920 would depend on the number of whistleblower claims made by those nonfederal employees. Evidence from the pilot program that currently protects certain nonfederal employees from such discrimination suggests that the number of such claims brought by such employees has totaled less than 20 for each of the 26 major federal agencies. CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 5920 would cost about $3,000 to investigate each claim, or about $5 million over the 2017-2021 period. Any such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting the bill could affect direct spending by agencies not funded through annual appropriations; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. CBO estimates, however, that any net increase in spending by those agencies would be negligible. Enacting H.R. 5920 would not affect revenues."

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