House Democrats Call for Halt to President’s Executive Order Politicizing the Civil Service and Demand Analyses of Potential Effects
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 28, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee of Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government and Operations, led all Committee Democrats and Members of the National Capital Region Delegation in a letter calling on Michael Rigas, the Acting Director of both the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to immediately cease the implementation of an executive order developed in secret and issued by President Trump last week that would make it easier to fire qualified civil servants and hire Trump loyalists in their place.
“This executive order is a direct attack on the crown jewel of this nation’s government—our civil servants,” the Members wrote. “These are the individuals in every community who have continued to serve throughout the coronavirus crisis. For these reasons, we demand an immediate stay on activities to implement this executive order while the Committee obtains information about its development and potential impacts.”
According to one recent press report, “The White House began crafting the order a year ago, in such secrecy that senior officials across the government had no idea it was coming.” According to the report, “The White House has declined to say how many jobs would be swept into a class of employees with fewer civil service rights.”
“The President issued this executive order two weeks before the election without consulting in any way with our Committee or the federal Chief Human Capital Officers Council, instead developing the proposal in secret without the benefit of any congressional or public scrutiny and apparently keeping many agencies and stakeholders in the dark,” the Members wrote.
The Members drew a comparison with the disastrous delays caused by the Trump Administration’s Postmaster General, GOP mega-fundraiser Louis DeJoy, who rushed to secretly implement a series of ill-conceived changes to postal operations, noting that the Inspector General recently warned that DeJoy “did not complete a study or analysis of the impact the changes would make on mail prior to implementation.”
“It remains unclear, however, to what extent the White House or federal agencies have analyzed the potential impacts of this proposal on federal workers and the agency missions they carry out,” the Members added. “Implementing this new policy without conducting such analyses could have disastrous effects on the services on which the American people rely.”
In today’s letter, the Members demanded an immediate stay on the implementation of the executive order while the Committee obtains information about its development and potential impacts. The letter requests all internal or external analyses conducted regarding the potential impacts of the executive order on federal employees, agency missions, and services for the American people, among other documents, by November 11, 2020.
The letter follows yesterday’s introduction of the Saving the Civil Service Act (H.R. 8687), which would reverse the President’s Executive Order and restore civil servants’ protections against political retaliation.
Click here to read today’s letter.