House Democrat says federal workforce recovering from 'a lot of harm' under Trump

House Democrat says federal workforce recovering from 'a lot of harm' under Trump
© Greg Nash

The federal workforce is in a period of rebuilding and improving its morale after four years of former President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE, Rep. Derek KilmerDerek Christian KilmerThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Head of House Office of Diversity and Inclusion urges more staff diversity House lawmakers roll out bill to invest 0 million in state and local cybersecurity MORE (D-Wash.) said Monday.

Speaking at The Hill’s “Rebuilding the Federal Workforce” event, Kilmer told moderator Steve Clemons that a hippocratic oath of “do no harm” must be observed in regards to federal workers, but he said “a lot of harm” has been done to the federal workforce, especially under the administration of President Trump.


The federal workforce is coming off years of rollbacks of employees’ rights, through restrictions on collective bargaining rights and weakening of due process protections.

“We saw under the Trump administration a number of executive orders that were frankly anti-worker,” Kilmer said at the event sponsored by Nokia. “They were anti-union. They made it harder to bargain collectively. They made it harder for union officials to use official time for collective bargaining activities.”

The Washington Democrat, who chairs the select committee on the modernization of Congress, said there needs to be more recognition of the contributions of government employees.


“One of the concerns that we have is Congress is frankly only as strong as the staff who work in Congress. And, unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of people leaving congressional staffs as well, whether they’re in member offices or in committee. That erodes the ability of Congress to solve big problems for the American people.”

Kilmer, who has served in the House since 2013 and is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, noted that the federal government is the largest employer in his district, but he has been copied on constituents’ letters of resignation stating that they were leaving their job for a different one with higher pay, better benefits and less "drama” than the federal government.

“I really think there is a value of policymakers highlighting that important work so they stop treating our federal workforce like the pinata at the party,” Kilmer said.