President Trump’s administration is looking to terminate or layoff 150 employees for the Office of Personnel Management unless Congress comes up with the funds to pay for the positions or end the federal agency. Members of Congress stepped up and called this threat on lawmakers intimidating and attacking the rights of federal workers.
Democratic Representative Gerald E. Connolly from Virginia stated, “After realizing they were not going to prevail on the merits of the proposal, the Trump Administration is taking 150 federal employees hostage unless we consent to a plan that has no rationale. The plan is nothing more than a political gambit to give the White House control of our longstanding merit-based civil service system.”
Officials of the Trump administration stated terminations or layoffs may be the answer to solve the issue of the personnel agency’s loss of revenue after it lost one of its major functions which are to conduct the background checks on federal employees intended for hire. The personnel agencies are one of the target battles over the budget, which is costing more as we get closer to the 2020 Presidential Election.
Back in March, President Trump told of his 2020 budget and called for massive cuts in domestic programs and higher spending on the military, and proposed billions of dollars for the border wall. As long as the Democrats control the House, it is very possible that none of these things will ever happen.
Officials of the Trump administration stated OPM is inefficient and outmoded as it oversees over two million federal civilian workforce members. The White House demands its duties to be transferred to other areas of the government. The task the OPM handles are mostly what Human Resources handles, and the Trump administration wants to see OPM transferred within the General Services Administration.
Jacob Wood, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, stated, We continue to work with Congress to find a solution and sustainable path forward that avoids unacceptable impacts to the staff at OPM. Unfortunately, issues of funding and appropriations law leave OPM with few options.”
In the end, the ultimate goal is to end the OPM from the 2020 Fiscal Year budget. The Trump administration is looking to streamline and re-organize government. As long as the Democrats hold the House of Representatives, this will be an uphill battle every step of the way.
The deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, Margaret Weichert stated this year at a congressional hearing, “The OPM has created a national personnel system that does not meet modern workforce needs any longer. Failure to invest in and re-align HR organization, technology, and operations have generated backlogs, service quality issues, cyber risks, and problems hiring and retaining top talent.”
Bad publicity was placed upon the Office of Personnel Management when in 2015 a data breach exposed millions of public employees private records. Officials claimed the breach came from Chinese hacking. China denied the accusations.
During the government shut down a few months ago, the OPM sent out a link to federal workers to steer them in the right direction when their personal paychecks were cut off. They showed workers how to negotiate with landlords, creditors, bill collectors, and other companies who collect bills for everyday expenses. The link was in the form of a letter to send to creditors and bill collectors which read, “As we discussed, I am a federal employee who has recently been furloughed due to a lack of funding of my agency. Because of this, my income has been severely cut, and I am unable to pay the entire cost of my monthly payments, along with my other expenses. I appreciate your willingness to work with me and your understanding during this difficult time.”
Eventually, the OPM will come to an end, and many workers will get transferred while others will be laid off. Unfortunately, the workers of the OPM will be the ones needing the letter for their creditors because of the budget cutbacks.
Congress is the only ones who can spare the jobs of the employees at OPM. Republicans and the Trump administration see no other alternatives unless Congress intervenes. Everyone has heard the saying, “Business has no friends.” President Trump is a very successful businessman, and when it comes to business, whatever holds the budgets down gets cut off. Wasteful spending does need to come to an end, unfortunately, it comes at the cost of workers.