President Trump recently announced plans to cancel an automatic pay increase for federal employees, a plan I strongly support. This is part of his promise to drain the swamp, a message that resonated powerfully with the American people. Americans are fed up with an out-of-touch federal government. They want to see common-sense actions being taken to clean up the federal workforce. In addition to canceling these unearned pay increases, President Trump is carrying out the will of the people by taking action. This includes limiting federal employees’ use of their official time for non-work activities, cracking down on unfair union practices, and curbing exploited grievance tactics used to defend bad workers.
To curb these repugnant federal employment practices last year I introduced the Promote Accountability and Government Efficiency (PAGE) Act. The PAGE Act creates similar reforms that will make the government more responsive to the needs and interests of the people. It also constructs at-will employment status for new federal employees, immediately suspends employees due to misconduct or poor performance, and ensures that taxpayers are only paying for official work activities.
But the rot in the elite Washington power structures run deep. Since the Great Recession, Americans increasingly realized that Washington bureaucrats, special interests, and career politicians on both sides of the aisle were only in it for themselves while hard working American taxpayers struggled to make ends meet. It comes as no surprise that some of the richest counties in America surround Washington, D.C.
As an outsider, President Trump continues to call out this dirty little secret. He had the courage to say that the government works for the people, not the other way around, and ever since then, he’s been using this message to cut red tape, shrink the size and scope of government, and cast out government cronies and decadent courtiers from their privileged positions. The PAGE Act rectifies this malpractice with our federal employment and recognizes what many Americans understand well: it is simply inappropriate for taxpayer-funded workers to keep their jobs regardless of their actions.
Incompetent and careless workers exist in every office. Only the federal government rewards them through automatic pay increases, promotions, and lengthy appeals procedures following “disciplinary action”. Firing federal employees for misconduct often takes a year or longer. Moreover, managers do not have the time to go through this lengthy process. The Merit Systems Protections Board, which enforces Civil Service rules, has found that this system prevents poorly performing employees from getting fired. This kind of conduct is appalling and unacceptable.
Civil Service protections were never meant to protect employees who refuse to answer letters, return phone calls, or engage in personal business deals, union activity, and other personal activities while at work. The PAGE Act addresses these problems. I know there are excellent, dedicated, and conscientious public servants in the federal government, and the PAGE Act would maintain rules protecting employees from discrimination. But federal employees cannot operate with no accountability. Without appropriate accountability, we have watched federal agencies suffer from poor conduct and performance. Like many hard-working Americans, I do not want to see employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Internal Revenue Service, and other agencies abuse their positions and let taxpayers down.
We must continue draining the swamp in order to reform our federal bureaucracy. The days of the DC elite selfishly exploiting Americans are numbered and I will continue working alongside President Trump to make sure our government is well-equipped with hardworking and trustworthy employees that put the American people first.