26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Legislators seek to outlaw Schedule F

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The United States House of Representatives has passed legislation that seeks to protect Federal Public Servants from any revival of the Schedule F Executive Order that would make it easier for a future President to replace workers with loyalists.

The Bill, Preventing a Patronage System Act, passed in a 225-to-204 vote with six Republicans joining all voting Democrats in supporting the measure.

The legislation would need to win the backing of at least 10 Republicans to get past the Senate.

Former President, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order creating Schedule F two weeks before the November 2020 election he lost.

It would have meant thousands of Public Servants in policy-making roles would not enjoy the protections that normal Public Service rules and regulation provide and could be hired and fired at will.

The Executive Order drew headlines over concerns that it would make it easier to hire employees who did not have adequate experience to serve in the position they were put up for.

Incoming President, Joe Biden rescinded the Executive Order in January 2021, but it has gained renewed focus in recent weeks after reports of Mr Trump’s plans to reimpose Schedule F should he be elected President in 2024.

The House legislation would prevent Federal Government positions from being moved outside normal Public Service principles without the consent of Congress.

Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, and a sponsor of the Bill, Gerry Connolly said the former President’s attempt to remove qualified experts and replace them with political loyalists threatened national security and the Government’s ability to function.

“Expertise, not fealty, must define our Civil Service,” Mr Connolly (pictured) said.

However, Republican James Comer defended Schedule F.

“President Trump sought to take on this bureaucracy and restore power to the people by draining the swamp….to help make Federal bureaucrats more accountable for their actions,” Mr Comer said.

Washington, 18 September 2022

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