Biden Admin. Shields Federal Employees from Possible Trump Presidency

On Thursday, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a new rule, to be added to the Federal Register on April 9 and to go into effect next month, that would shield executive branch federal government employees from being terminated for opposing a president’s policies or agenda. The OPM’s as-yet-unpublished rule change stipulates that certain policy-making federal employees are protected from most forms of employment termination, regardless of who is president.

In comments to The Washington Stand, Family Research Council’s Senior Director of Government Affairs Quena González explained, “The Biden rule undermines the authority of the American people to choose their government by tying the hands of an elected president. The process to repeal the rule should begin on day one of the next administration, and Congress should act to make sure this can never happen again.” He added, “America does not need a permanent ruling class of unelected elites in Washington who are not subject to electoral accountability. We inherited, and should fight to defend, government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

In late 2020, then-President Donald Trump issued an executive order creating a new designation, “Schedule F,” for federal employees, allowing the president and his administration to fire policy-making and policy-influencing federal employees who oppose, resist, or reject the policy initiatives of the duly-elected president. “Faithful execution of the law requires that the President have appropriate management oversight regarding this select cadre of professionals,” the executive order stated. “Except as required by statute, the Civil Service Rules and Regulations shall not apply to removals from positions listed in Schedules A, C, D, E, or F…”

Upon taking office a few months later, President Joe Biden repealed that executive order. The new OPM rule goes even further and specifies that only political appointees are to be classified as policy-making executive branch employees, effectively safeguarding career bureaucrats from termination, despite their policy-making and policy-influencing roles. The new rule also clarifies that “protections” “accrued” by employees cannot be “taken away by an involuntary move” from one employment classification or schedule to another, protecting those that the Biden administration has entrenched in the federal government from a possible Trump presidency.

In a written statement, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said, “This final rule honors our 2.2 million career civil servants, helping ensure that people are hired and fired based on merit and that they can carry out their duties based on their expertise and not political loyalty.” White House Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Jason Miller added, “The Biden-Harris Administration knows that career civil servants are the backbone of the federal workforce and should be able to provide the expertise and experience necessary for the critical functioning of the federal government.”

“As a former federal agency employee, I was explicitly told that if hired I would serve ultimately at the pleasure of the American people. I carried that charge with me to work every day for three and a half years, and it remains true no matter who the people elect,” González stated. “Federal service is a privilege, not an entitlement. … This rule undermines presidential elections.”

The Biden administration’s rule change comes as numerous polls predict a Trump victory and Biden loss in November. FRC Action Director Matt Carpenter told TWS, “There’s only one way to interpret this move from the Biden White House: They are not confident in the president’s reelection chances.” He added, “In the final months of his first term, President Biden is looking to preempt a possible return of Trump and his Schedule F. This is not the move an administration makes when they’re confident they will get another chance to write rules that apply to federal employees.”


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.


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