Legislation addresses Trump order reducing federal employees to patronage status

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An executive order from President Trump effectively allows the administration to remove federal employees deemed not “loyal enough” to the administration.

New legislation backed by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) would reverse the order by prohibiting the use of federal funds to allow it to be enforced.

Connolly, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today introduced the Saving the Civil Service Act, which would prohibit the use of funds from being used to implement Trump’s “Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service.”

The bill would also allow any position or appointment that was converted pursuant to the order be converted back to the competitive service, and provides anyone converted to a Schedule F who was subsequently fired to be reinstated with backpay.

The order would create a new Schedule F class of federal employees who could be more easily fired and will permit the replacement of non-partisan civil servants with partisan Trump loyalists.

“Congress must stand up to this midnight attack on civil service protections,” Connolly said. “This executive order is based on nothing – no data, no evidence of a problem, and no consultation with stakeholders, including Congress. It is a last-ditch attempt by the Trump administration to make it easier to remove federal employees who they deem aren’t ‘loyal enough’ to the president and return us to a patronage politics. The Saving the Civil Service Act would reverse this ill-advised, unstudied, and detrimental proposal.”

According to a congressional briefing provided by OPM last week, many employees in the general schedule could fit the new Schedule F position. Once converted, whoever holds that position can be removed from service — and no process is in place for an employee to appeal these employment decisions.

Moreover, if a policy position is empty, the administration can fill it immediately without application of Title 5 competency protections.

“Trump’s executive order would replace our current nonpartisan, expert career civil service with one that is loyal only to him. Science, justice, and defending our nation would become subservient to personal loyalty to the president,” Maloney said. “Congress must act to prevent this travesty from happening.”

“For four years, the Trump administration has repeatedly attacked and undermined the federal civilian workforce,” Hoyer said. “Our legislation will reverse the President’s extremely harmful executive order and protect the civil service system. Our civil servants go to work each day to serve the American people, and our nation benefits from their knowledge and dedication. House Democrats will continue to stand with the federal civilian workforce and work to prevent these harmful policies from going into effect.”

Under the terms of the Saving the Civil Service Act, agencies would be directed to look at position descriptions and delegations, and this review is due by Jan. 19, one day before inauguration.


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