Virus Outbreak Congress

The Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol are seen in Washington, at sunrise Wednesday, March 18, 2020. 

Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet was one of 41 members of the Democratic caucus to introduce legislation this week nullifying an Oct. 21 executive order that would make it easier to fire federal policymaking employees.

“President Trump’s executive order further destabilizes our government during a presidential transition and creates more uncertainty during an already turbulent time,” said Bennet. “His order is extremely harmful to federal employees who have diligently served our country — especially during the current public health crisis. That’s why I’m introducing this legislation to prevent the Trump Administration from creating more chaos and stripping protections from dedicated federal employees.”

The order created a Schedule F job classification for federal employees that covers “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions.” Moving civil servants into that category would subject them to easier dismissal. Trump alluded to that reasoning in his policy justification for the change.

“Separating employees who cannot or will not meet required performance standards is important, and it is particularly important with regard to employees in confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions,” the president wrote.

Bob Corsi, interim president of the Senior Executives Association, whose members are career government executives, described the legislation to overturn the executive order an essential check on the executive branch.

“The creation of Schedule F deeply undermines the apolitical, merit-based nature of our federal workforce. Rather than safeguarding our professional civil service, it reverts our government back to the spoils system of the 1800s,” Corsi said.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is a cosponsor of the companion bill in the House of Representatives.

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