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The federal bureaucracy needs a reckoning

From the COVID tyrants at the CDC and NIH to the DHS officials unfairly punishing Border Patrol agents and the 87,000 new IRS agents targeting the middle class, the three-letter federal agencies, and sadly, many of its employees are not friends of the American people. . Congress must do whatever it takes to end his long string of abuses. That means reining in the federal bureaucracy to prevent the rise of new tyrants and ensuring that those who acted against the American people face trial.

However, when news recently broke about the mere possibility of reviving former President Donald Trump’s “Schedule F” executive order to hold federal employees accountable, the swamp turned apoplectic.

Hysterical headlines condemned the “plot to purge officials” already “stack the civil service with loyalist hackers,” “causing havoc in government.” One I call is “authoritarianism 101”. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer issued a statement condemning “Republican efforts to weaken protections for federal employees.”

The truth is, it’s about time the protections that empower and protect underperforming and ill-willed employees are weakened. We must attack the root of this government tyranny imposed on Americans: the corrupt or inept federal employees hidden throughout the federal government.

Today, the hands of federal supervisors are tied with enough red tape to make it nearly impossible to fire incompetent or ill-intentioned employees. Meanwhile, conscientious career workers and political appointees are forced to put up with unruly employees and do their jobs for them. The result? Rampant waste, inefficiency and low morale.

This was especially obvious during the last administration, when entrenched career bureaucrats repeatedly hampered President Trump’s agenda, which faces few, if any, repercussions. His actions sabotaged the policies the American people voted for. When his conduct came to light, they hid behind bureaucratic procedures to evade consequences, further draining taxpayer resources.

However, he is about more than a former president. In practice, the idyllic image of apolitical bureaucrats expertly performing their duties has proven to be a fiction even with Trump out of office. In fact, the FBI seems more focused on raiding his house and labeling the parents as “domestic terrorists” than going after cartels and gang members. Look at the CDC’s collusion with Big Tech to censor criticism of vaccine mandates. Such are the signs of a civil service that acts on political beliefs instead of faithfully executing the will of the people, which is expressed in federal laws passed by Congress.

There must be accountability, and these bureaucrats must be fireable.

In fact, we should make all executive branch bureaucrats employees at will, allowing politically responsible appointees to quickly address misconduct and fire underperforming employees. This will return the federal workforce to its original purpose: faithfully executing the laws for the American people.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 15: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building stands on April 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. April 15 is the deadline in the United States for residents to file their income tax returns.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

That is why I have presented a bill to end all this.

My Public Service Reform Act (HR 8550) would convert all executive branch employees at will, meaning they can face any adverse action, including removal, if they are not doing their job, as long as the action is not a prohibited personal practice, such as racial discrimination. . This would bring sanity and responsibility to our federal workforce.

The federal government is not a jobs program. Federal employees could be fired for almost any cause until the Lloyd-La Follette Act of 1912, which forbidden unjustified or arbitrary removals and protections established for whistleblowers. But, more than 100 years later, the limited and prudent protections in that legislation have been stretched far beyond their intent in a Gordian knot of Byzantine regulations and procedures.

To fire employees, federal supervisors must navigate an unreasonably complex and time-consuming process. process, conducting a lengthy formal investigation after giving employees 30 days notice. Employees can then appeal their removal multiple times through various internal and external boards and offices, further delaying the process at the expense of taxpayers. The vast majority of these appeals are unfounded.

For example, only 3 percent of whistleblower complaints are substantiated by the United States Office of Special Counsel. And of the 15,911 complaints of discrimination in fiscal year 2019, only 175 were substantiated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Even in cases of clear and egregious misconduct, such as employees stealing government funds, using illegal drugs, or committing sexual assaults, federal agencies can’t fire anyone right away. In fact, the Government Accountability Office has Estimate federal agencies take six months to a year to fire poorly performing employees. And that is if they get fired.

In practice, the situation is even worse. Just 25 percent of federal supervisors believe they could successfully fire an underperforming employee, even when that employee had already met the legal criteria for removal. Seventy-eight percent of supervisors reported that previous efforts to terminate such employees had had no effect.

Consider just a few of these virtually immovable bureaucrats: the Housing and Urban Development clerk caught using your work email for private business deals, including arranging to have lap dancers at a party. the postal worker stopped for bringing cocaine to the workplace and smoking marijuana during his lunch hour. The Environmental Protection Agency employee who spent years watching the 7,000 pornographic videos he downloaded to his computer for two to six hours every weekday, even when inspector general agents finally paid him a visit. Numerous other federal employees who ran personal business on government hours, pawned thousands of dollars on agency equipment, or hired family and friends for paid positions were able to dodge the pink slip. The only federal building these employees should occupy is a courthouse or jail.

Most federal employees want to serve their country; their good intentions and work ethic are thwarted by bad actors entrenched in the federal workforce and protected from removal.

The current federal labor framework discourages efficiency and, more importantly, public service. It rewards mediocrity and penalizes worthy careers and dedicated political employees. It desperately needs ambitious reform, like my bill. It is past time we returned to a federal workforce that is accountable and works for the American people.

Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican, represents Texas’s 21st congressional district.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


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