Democrats Introduce Legislation to Reverse Trump Patronage Class Executive Order

“Congress must stand up to this midnight attack on civil service protections,”
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Today, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, introduced the Saving the Civil Service Act, legislation to reverse President Trump’s executive order that would remove important civil service protections and make it easier for the Administration to unfairly retaliate against federal employees.

“Congress must stand up to this midnight attack on civil service protections,” said Chairman Connolly. “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.”

“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,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “Congress must act to prevent this travesty from happening.”

"For four years, the Trump Administration has repeatedly attacked and undermined the federal civilian workforce," said Leader Hoyer. "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."

The Saving the Civil Service Act would prohibit the use of funds from being used to implement Trump’s “Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service.” It would also allow any position or appointment that was converted pursuant to the EO 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 EO 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.

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. Agencies are directed to look at position descriptions and delegations, and this review is due by January 19th, one day before inauguration.

Text of the legislation is here.

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