Thursday, May 23, 2024

Protections bolstered for federal employees against political interference ahead of election

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Senior National
Correspondent

The twice-impeached, four-times indicted, and alleged predatory former President Donald Trump has pledged to “be a dictator on Day 1” if voters do the democracy-killing and unthinkable act of re-electing him.

The GOP’s presumptive nominee and groups loyal to him have previously released plans to reshape the federal government, potentially terminating thousands of employees and replacing them with conservatives and MAGA cult followers while cementing Trump as America’s first autocrat in the Oval Office.

However, President Joe Biden has moved to make that task much more difficult if Trump wins or steals the 2024 presidential election. This week, the Biden-Harris administration issued a new rule to protect federal employees through the Office of Personnel Management. The new regulations should help prevent the reclassification of career civil servants as political appointees or other at-will workers, making termination difficult.

“Today, my administration is announcing protections for 2.2 million career civil servants from political interference to guarantee they can carry out their responsibilities in the best interest of the American people,” Biden said. The National Treasury Employee Union applauded the administration’s decision, calling it a crucial step in preventing the arbitrary removal of nonpartisan professionals from federal agencies.

 

The GOP’s presumptive nominee and groups loyal to him have previously released plans to reshape the federal government, potentially terminating thousands of employees and replacing them with conservatives and MAGA cult followers while cementing Trump as America’s first autocrat in the Oval Office. (Photo bia NNPA)

“This rule is about making sure the American public can continue to count on federal workers to apply their skills and expertise in carrying out their jobs, no matter their personal political beliefs,” said Rob Shriver, deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management.

Despite the proactive measures, concerns remain about future attempts to undermine these protections. If Trump, who will be the first former president to be a criminal defendant when he heads to trial in New York this month, were to secure another term in office, his administration could attempt to draft new rules through the Office of Personnel Management.

However, administration officials said the new rules mean that any such effort would likely encounter legal challenges, given the detailed explanations required for regulatory changes. The new rule “cannot be erased by a technical, HR process, which [Trump] sought to do,” Shriver stated. He added that the majority of the 2.2 million federal employees nationwide are “our friends and neighbors” who don’t have political agendas.

A crucial component of the Trump-backed and conservative Heritage Foundation’s extensive playbook, dubbed Project 2025, involves plans to scrutinize and terminate tens of thousands of federal employees whom they deem not loyal to Trump and replace them with loyalists. The GOP frontrunner, Trump, has vowed to run America as a dictatorship if he’s elected. Having already engaged in the Jan. 6 insurrection that led to the deaths of five law enforcement officers, Trump’s cultish followers have vowed more destruction if the would-be despot loses to Biden again.

With a favorable Supreme Court, and many others willing to do his bidding, Trump has thumbed his nose at twice being found responsible for sexually assaulting a woman, whom a judge ordered him to pay nearly $90 million in damages to. He’s consistently tested the limits of gag orders in his criminal cases, where he’s facing 88 felony counts that could land him an 800-plus year prison sentence, and Trump has been ordered to pay nearly $500 million after a judge determined that he committed massive business fraud.

Meanwhile, Biden called the new rules essential to safeguarding the independence and integrity of the civil service and ensuring that government agencies remain focused on serving the interests of the American people, free from partisan influence.

“Day in and day out, career civil servants provide the expertise and continuity necessary for our democracy to function,” the president asserted. “They provide Americans with lifesaving and life-changing services and put opportunity within reach for millions. Since taking office, I have worked to strengthen, empower, and rebuild our career workforce. This rule is a step toward combating corruption and partisan interference to ensure civil servants are able to focus on the most important task at hand: delivering for the American people.”

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