President Donald Trump promised as a presidential candidate to “drain the swamp” — his catchy phrase for ridding Washington of entrenched bureaucrats and federal employees. Now, Trump’s budget for 2019 plans to make good on that promise.
What’s going on?
According to USA Today, Trump plans to “hire the best and fire the worst” federal government employees in “the most ambitious proposal to overhaul the civil service in 40 years.”
The proposal would end regular tenure and merit-based raises for more than 1.5 million federal government employees. Instead, the plan will call on government agencies to reward employees with performance-based raises and other incentives. More from USA Today:
Trump is using the VA Accountability Act, which gave the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to fire and discipline workers, as a model. The White House says that law has resulted in the dismissal of 1,470 employees, the suspension of 443, demotions for 83 others last year.
In addition, the plan seeks to phase out the traditional pension-based retirement plan and adopt employee-contribution plans found in the private sector. Overall, the plan seeks to bring employee pay and benefits to the modern age.
The Associated Press noted that moving to performance-based work could lead to the termination of many government employees with poor work reviews. However, for the majority of the government’s 2.8 million workers, its unclear how the changes will affect them.
The proposal is expected to generate $10 billion over the next years for performance-based rewards. However, many of the proposed changes would need approval from Congress, the AP noted.
The White House is releasing the plan on Monday as part of Trump’s 2019 budget plan.
What are government employees saying?
According to USA Today, unions representing federal government employees are not a fan of the changes. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the changes “wipe out due process rights for employees.”
Cox also expressed concern government leadership would use the changes to punish women, minorities and political dissidents.
“He seems to be interested in political revenge by firing people,” Cox said of Trump. “The government is not a family business that you get to be in total control of.”