President Joe Biden’s administration is trying to head off a proposal from former President Donald Trump that could re-shape the federal workforce.
Trump has said that if he is elected, he would adopt policies to weed out managers and others in policy-making positions who currently enjoy civil service protections.
At the end of his term, Trump approved an executive order that created a new classification of federal workers, so that managers in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” would be in a new Schedule F, according to CNN. These workers would no longer be protected from dismissal as are most federal civil service workers.
Biden undid that order after taking office and now has proposed a rule that his administration hopes would make it harder to reclassify workers.
Much of the rule, as published in the Federal Register, praises civil service workers, while limiting the number of workers who could be reclassified and the reasons for such a step.
As President, my father will implement Schedule F to Fire the Bureaucrats and Drain the Swamp!pic.twitter.com/JURZNqE2qj
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 16, 2023
Rob Shriver, the deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, said the new rule “is strong and based in law and has a strong rationale,” according to The New York Times.
“Anyone who wants to explore a change in policy would have work to do. They’d have to go through the same administrative rule-making process and make sure that their policy is grounded in the law,” he said.
James Sherk, who helped create the concept of Schedule F when he worked in the Trump administration, said if Trump is elected, scrapping Biden’s rule with a new one would not be all that difficult.
“The Biden administration can, if they want, make removing intransigent or poorly performing senior bureaucrats harder on themselves,” he said.
“The next administration can just as easily rescind those restrictions. With regards to reissuing Schedule F, this proposed rule would be a speed bump, but nothing more,” he said.
Jason Miller, who works in the Office of Management and Budget, defended the new rule and said Trump’s efforts to change the rules “exposed the fragility of the existing system — the system that has been in place for 140 years to ensure we have a dedicated nonpartisan civil service.”
Russell Vought, a past director of the Office of Management and Budget, criticized the new effort to block Schedule F.
“This expected move by the Biden administration to forestall accountability within the bureaucracy against poor performers merely reinforces what we already knew — Schedule F rests on a sound legal foundation, is going to succeed spectacularly and the only chance to stop it is to install procedural roadblocks,” he said.
“To drain the swamp, we need to fire the swamp. With schedule F, I took executive action to make it possible to fire federal employees who are bypassing our democracy to advance wokeism and corruption,” the remarks said.
“We now need Congress to institute historic reforms to permanently empower the president to root out the deep state, and ensure that any bureaucrat who is corrupt, incompetent, or unnecessary can be told, ‘You’re fired,’” the speech said.
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