Biden moves to protect federal workers from Trump ‘deep state’ purge

ByHaisten Willis

The Biden administration has finalized rules that could protect the jobs of millions of federal employees as former President Donald Trump promises to “destroy” what he calls the “deep state” if he wins a second term in the White House.

President Joe Biden says the new rule will combat corruption and partisan interference to ensure civil servants can do their jobs, but the Right sees the decision as a way to protect an entrenched federal bureaucracy from a Republican president.

“It is high time for reform, and Joe Biden and his fellow corrupt deep state backers know this,” reads a statement from the Heritage Foundation-led Project 2025. “The bloated and uncontrollable administrative state needs to be streamlined, right-sized and depoliticized — which has not happened in nearly the past 50 years.”

The call for a smaller federal government dates back decades and is a traditional plank of modern conservatism. But the push has become infused with Trump’s claims that the bureaucracy has been turned against him, first with the Russia investigation and today with prosecutions focused on his handling of classified documents and role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Project 2025, a conservative policy and staffing project, says the federal government should be held accountable to voters, “not weaponized against them.”

At issue is a wonky but important distinction about the policymaking power of federal government employees and whether or not the president can hire and fire them. Both sides say the other is trying to politicize the issue.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees at 35 government agencies, cheered Biden’s announcement.

“Any future administration determined to politicize the federal workforce will not be able to randomly fire career civil servants without cause under new regulations proposed by NTEU and finalized today by the Office of Personnel Management,” the union said. “With these regulations, President Biden’s administration has strengthened the guardrails around the merit-based civil service.”

That future administration could be guided by Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, if he prevails against Biden in November. During his first term in office, Trump issued an executive order reclassifying tens of thousands of employees into a new “Schedule F” classification that reduced their protections. Biden scrapped Schedule F upon taking office.

The Washington Examiner has contacted the Trump campaign seeking comment.

President Ronald Reagan trimmed the federal workforce by 100,000 during his first term in office, an event some Republicans want to see repeated.

In his book, The Courage to be Free, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) outlined his opposition to executive branch employees being “beyond the reach of the head of the executive branch.”

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“Clearly, having a federal establishment that is practically immune from the results of elections is not conducive to the type of accountability that is required to enact good policy, much less to preserve freedom,” DeSantis wrote.

But groups like NTEU say Schedule F would give presidents the ability to remove nonpartisan professionals who staff federal agencies to “make room for hand-picked partisan loyalists.” NTEU floated a petition backing Biden’s rule that was signed by 13 employee unions.

The new rule is set to take effect next month.

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