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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), left, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) hold a news conference at the U.S. Capitol while Senate and House members hash out differences between the two versions of the stimulus bill -- February 11, 2009 - 


Steve Chiotakis: Lawmakers could have a final vote on the reconciled stimulus package as soon as today. House and Senate leaders reached a deal worth $789 billion. Of course, we'll hear a lot today about all the stuff that made it in to the bill. But let's talk about one item that was taken out. Here's Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson.

Jeremy Hobson: The provision would have protected federal employees from retaliation if they blow the whistle on fraud or abuse. Employees who Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight says would most likely be the first to spot wasteful spending of the stimulus money.

Danielle Brian: And what's really extraordinary is the Congress recognized the need for whistleblowers in protecting state and local employees from retaliation if they disclose misconduct, but not federal employees.

Those who wanted the protection out of the bill have concerns about classified information getting out.
But Brian says that's no reason to abandon the concept altogether.

Brian: Auditors, investigators, any formal analysis trying to find misconduct is never as successful as those whistleblowers on the inside who see it and want to do something about it.

The bill does call for a transparency Web site to be created that will allow people to see who's getting stimulus contracts.

I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson