Six Democratic senators introduced legislation preventing federal civil service positions from being reclassified outside of a merit-based system, protecting tens of thousands of federal employees.
Why it matters: It follows reporting from Axios’ Jonathan Swan on former President Trump’s plans to replace huge chunks of government employees with his own army of tens of thousands of loyalists by establishing a new Schedule F employment category for federal employees.
The details: The new bill would prevent any position in the federal civil service from being reclassified outside of merit system principles without the express consent of Congress.
- The bill, led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), is also co-sponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
In the House, Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-Va.) introduced legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) that was passed this month.
- Connelly has consistently raised alarm about the need to protect the civil service. “Congress must assert itself and ensure no future president can repeat what Trump has already tried to do once, and now is reportedly planning to do again,” Connelly wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece citing Axios reporting.
What they’re saying: “Our civil service plays an invaluable role in everything from our national security to the administration of Social Security benefits, and it’s in Americans’ best interest that those positions be filled with the most qualified applicants,” Kaine said in a statement.
- “Workplace protections for federal workers exist for a reason: so any one administration cannot fire career employees and install their own political appointees,” Feinstein said in a statement.
- The last thing we need is for a president to fire dedicated and experienced public servants and replace them with sycophants and grifters without the skills to carry out the functions of government within the rule of law,” Cardin said in a statement.
- “Keeping partisan politics out of our civil service is crucial to upholding its integrity and maintaining an efficient and effective federal government,” Van Hollen said in a statement.