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Democrats demand docs tied to Trump order stripping civil service protections

Democrats demand docs tied to Trump order stripping civil service protections
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Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee asked the White House on Wednesday to turn over a trove of documents related to a recent order that strips some civil servants of worker protections.

An order from President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE issued last week deals only with career employees who work on policy matters, making it easier to hire employees outside of the competitive process while allowing them to be fired “at will” with little recourse.

“The executive order is a harmful attack on the integrity of our government because it will permit the replacement of non-partisan civil servants with partisan Trump loyalists,” the House Oversight Democrats wrote in a letter that was also signed by Democrats in the capital region.

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The letter asks the White House to immediately halt implementation of the order — a request that was also recently made in court in a union lawsuit challenging the policy.

The order gives government agencies 90 days to determine which employees should be slotted into the new Schedule F positions, meaning that those employees could be removed for performance reasons without the opportunity to contest the decision or rely on union representation. 

The administration has argued in favor of the order, stating that “agencies need the flexibility to expeditiously remove poorly performing employees from these positions without facing extensive delays or litigation.” 

But critics see it as a way to push aside career civil servants, particularly those whose work or research may at times conflict with administration goals, and replace them with political appointees.

“The executive order would erode due process protections for civil service employees and make it easier for the administration to fire qualified individuals who base their professional opinions on evidence, science, and analysis,” lawmakers wrote in the letter. “It would expedite the hiring of Trump loyalists and place them in roles best served by career civil servants. This action could multiply the number of political appointees within the federal workforce by tens of thousands and permit the mass firing of current federal employees.”

The White House did not respond to request for comment. 

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The letter asks the White House to turn over all communication and analysis backing the policy.

Failure to do so could have implications in the lawsuit that was just filed, where the National Treasury Employees Union argued the order should be blocked precisely because the administration had failed to provide data to back the need for the order.

Trump’s order has already pushed one top appointee to the panel that advises the government on employee compensation to resign.

Ronald Sanders, a Republican who has served under administrations of both parties, said he could not continue as chair of the Federal Salary Council when the president’s new order “seeks to make loyalty to him the litmus test for many thousands of career civil servants.”