A recent article by Lisa Rein in the Washington Post shows how the President-elect could shake things up for federal workers come January. The Article is entitled “Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it.” It’s about how hiring freezes, firing “poor” performers, and less generous pensions may be just the start. Eric Yoder contributed to this report.
The article states, in part, that President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation.
Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January.
These changes were once unthinkable to federal employees, their unions and their supporters in Congress. But Trump’s election as an outsider promising to shake up a system he told voters is awash in “waste, fraud, and abuse” has conservatives optimistic that they could do now what Republicans have been unable to do in the 133 years since the modern civil service was created.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), a leading Trump adviser who serves on the president-elect’s transition team, said “We’re going to have to get the country to understand how big the problem is, the human costs of it and why it’s absolutely essential to reform,” said Gingrich, who urged Trump to shrink big government and overhaul the “job-for-life” guarantee of federal work.
Gingrich predicted that Stephen K. Bannon, a former Breitbart News chief who helped steer Trump’s campaign and is now one of his most influential advisers, would lead the effort. “It’s a big, big project,” he said.
Breitbart headlines also provide a possible insight into his views, with federal employees described as overpaid, too numerous and a “privileged class.”
“Number of Government Employees Now Surpasses Manufacturing Jobs by 9,977,000,” the website proclaimed in November. There are 2.1 million federal civilian employees.
Top Republicans on Capitol Hill say their first priority will be making it easier to fire employees regarded as incompetent or who break the rules.
“It’s nearly impossible to fire somebody,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “When the overwhelming majority do a good job and the one bad apple is there viewing pornography, I want people to be held accountable.”
Chaffetz said he plans to push through wholesale changes to the generous retirement benefits that federal workers receive, by shifting to a market-driven, 401(k)-style plan for new employees.
The promises go hand in hand with Trump’s promise to shrink the size and reach of government, from eliminating some agencies outright to lifting regulations and running the bureaucracy with fewer people.
“We’re going to be playing defense for at least a couple of years,” acknowledged William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, the third-largest federal union.
“The most immediate worry is: How are we going to shrink government?” Dougan said. “Are we going to lay people off? Eliminate whole agencies or do it through attrition?”
Trump has promised that in his first 100 days in office he will freeze hiring by not replacing employees who leave. The military and employees in public health and safety roles would be exempt, according to the president-elect’s Contract with the American Voter.
He has pledged to eliminate two regulations for every new one passed and shut down the Education Department and parts of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump can freeze hiring without Congress’s approval, with an executive order or less formal instructions to federal agencies.
“Look at what’s happening with every agency — waste, fraud, and abuse,” he said on the campaign trail. “We will cut so much, your head will spin.”
Our senior attorney Brad Harris says this article looks like very bad news for the average federal employee and they should probably contact us to see if we can help them with a new life plan.