The White House just released a new Executive Order signed by President Trump which would re-classify anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of federal workers’ jobs to strip them of civil service protections and union representation.
President Trump’s “Executive Order on Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service” is innocuously named, but represents a sweeping and historic attack on workers’ rights for 2.1 million federal employees with one goal: to make the government’s experts subject to total political control or face summary dismissal.
However, the order isn’t effective immediately, but rather fast-tracks a review process to completion by Jan. 19th, 2021 which is not-coincidentally the day before the next presidential inauguration.
A former right-wing Heritage Foundation think-tank alum wrote the policy for Trump, which is the ultimate swipe at federal employees he slanders as a “deep state,” knowledgeable experts whose fact-based decisions and accounts of corruption the pathological liar President decries for stopping his worst abuses or trying to save the lives of Americans to little avail during the coronavirus crisis. If Trump’s order were to go into full effect, the Washington Post reports it would be “a historic assault on the civil service”:
A day after issuing a directive crafted in such secrecy that senior officials across the government had no idea it was coming, Trump railed to donors that he presides over a government of miscreants.
The White House has declined to say how many jobs would be swept into a class of employees with fewer civil service rights, but civil service experts and union leaders estimated anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands in the 2.1 million-strong workforce. Each administration names about 4,000 political appointees, who typically change with each administration.
“They kept falling back on, ‘We’ve had 48 hours to digest this,'” Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-VA), who represents Virginia suburbs of the capital, told the Post disturbing news about a briefing with the White House Office of Personnel and Management. “This is a remarkable statement to make when you’re the government’s personnel operation.”
The Democrat promised to draft legislation stopping Trump’s purge and to attach it to a must-pass spending bill this December. The House is controlled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democrats, so there’s a strong chance such a measure will make it into the lower chamber’s bill.
“I am calling this a declaration of war on the civil service,” Richard Loeb told the US Armed Forces’ editorially independent news outlet Stars & Stripes, in his role as senior policy counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing federal workers. S&S reported:
It would be a profound reimagining of the career workforce, but one that may end up as a statement of purpose rather than anything else. The order fast-tracks a process that gives agencies until Jan. 19 to review potentially affected jobs. That’s a day before the next presidential inauguration. An administration under Democratic nominee Joe Biden would be unlikely to allow the changes to proceed.
Still, the order, coming less than two weeks before the election, represents a stunning effort to reshape large parts of the nonpartisan government, which is supposed to serve as a cadre of subject-matter experts for every administration.
Ironically, the Stars & Stripes itself grew to become a symbol to Donald Trump’s vehement opposition to independent thought in public service just last month when the President got caught trying to defund the news outlet.
America’s merit-based federal government of trained professionals hasn’t always existed for the benefit of every citizen. Each president typically hires approximately 4,000 political appointees to put their policies into the federal government right now.
But until 1883, the United States government operated under what is politely termed the “Spoils System,” so-called after a New York Senator declared that “to the victor go the spoils” when the genocidal racist General Andrew Jackson won the election of 1828 and got to direct the federal government. It’s also called a system of “patronage” where cronyism, nepotism, and any other -ism related to corruption are invited to run wild in their pure, undiluted form.
The end goal of the President’ss purge order would free him, if re-elected, to quite literally hire a member of the GOP to any and every position based upon loyalty or what kind of kickbacks he could achieve, after sweeping away the career professionals this country depends on for its safety and continued wellbeing.
Donald Trump wants to turn the entire federal government into a den of thieves, liars, and ne’er do wells just like his White House and the Republican Party, and the only thing standing in his way is an election that he claims is rigged while he refuses to publicly honor the peaceful transfer of power.
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Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition.