Trump’s New Executive Order to Strip Hundreds of Thousands of Feds of Due Process Rights, Open Door to Cronyism

Categories: The Insider

President Trump has issued a new executive order aimed at stripping hundreds of thousands of federal workers of due process, legal rights and protections and undermining decades of laws and policies designed to protect career civil servants from being hired or fired for political reasons. 

The executive order Trump issued Oct. 21 creates a new excepted service classification called Schedule F that will apply to any career federal employee whose job is in any way connected to federal policy – mid- to high-grade general schedule positions identified as ‘confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating’. 

This new classification puts these workers in “policy-making” positions and strips workers of important workplace protections against unfair treatment and discrimination such as an unfair removal. 

The executive order also directs the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which has been used by the Trump administration to undermine federal employees and their unions, to examine whether Schedule F employees should be removed from bargaining units and in effect, prohibited from being represented by a union.  

The order applies to current and new positions and gives agency heads seven months to conduct a complete review of their workforces that will be used to determine which jobs will be converted to the new schedule.  

“This is the most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “The president has doubled down on his effort to politicize and corrupt the professional service. This executive order strips due process rights and protections from perhaps hundreds of thousands of federal employees and will enable political appointees and other officials to hire and fire these workers at will.”  

Opening door to political cronyism  

Our apolitical, professional civil service has its foundation in an 1883 law that ended the spoils system, under which federal jobs were handed out based on loyalty to the president – not an individual’s merit or ability to do the job.  

This system has been expanded and strengthened over the ensuing decades to create a professional civil service that is the envy of most other nations in the world. 

Congress created these rules to guard against arbitrary hiring and firing decisions that are based not on job performance but on political affiliation, personal loyalty tests, and outright discrimination.  

“Through this order, President Trump has declared war on the professional civil service by giving himself the authority to fill the government with his political cronies who will pledge their unwavering loyalty to him – not to America,” Kelley added. 

Members of Congress condemn the executive order 

Several members of Congress have issued a statement condemning this executive order. 

“With the stroke of his pen, the President tries to undermine the value of public service,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted. “His action is an outrage and Democrats will fight it. Once again, he proves himself unworthy of the office he holds.” 

"Today’s executive order is a betrayal of the hardworking, dedicated, and patriotic Americans who have chosen to work on behalf of their fellow citizens as civilian federal employees,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “It is also a slap in the face to veterans, who under President Trump’s order will no longer be given hiring preference for thousands of federal positions. It is yet another example of his disdain for those who have served our nation and who wish to serve it still.” 

“President Trump’s latest executive order is a brazen act to politicize the career civil service and a direct assault on civil service protections,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith. “Time and again, the Trump Administration has sought a path that values, and in turn exploits, loyalty over competence. For more than 150 years, the federal civil service program has cultivated a cadre of non-partisan policy experts to augment and provide continuity for the ever-transitioning politically appointed workforce, who serves at the pleasure of the sitting president. 
“This action confirms his continued disregard of our expert, professional, and nonpartisan federal workforce,” House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney said. “Congress must ensure President Trump isn’t allowed to politicize these critical policy positions.” 

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