Mick Mulvaney’s battles with Alexander Acosta began almost immediately. Weeks after he was named acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney summoned the labor secretary for a tense January encounter that became known inside the West Wing as “the woodshed meeting.” Mulvaney told Acosta in blunt terms that the White House believed he was dragging his feet on regulation rollbacks desired by business interests and that he was on thin ice as a result, according to advisers and a person close to the White House. Soon after, Acosta proposed a spate of business-friendly rules on overtime pay and other policies
The Trump administration is threatening to furlough — and possibly lay off — 150 employees at the federal personnel agency if Congress blocks its plan to eliminate the department. The Office of Personnel Management is preparing to send the career employees home without pay starting on Oct. 1, according to an internal briefing document obtained by The Washington Post. The employees could formally be laid off after 30 days, administration officials confirmed.
John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, announced his retirement Monday following revelations that he directed his staff to whitewash audits of the agency’s performance after federal disasters.
Ahead of Robert Wilkie’s likely confirmation to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump loyalists at the agency are taking aggressive steps to purge or reassign staff perceived to be disloyal to President Trump and his agenda for veterans, according to multiple people familiar with the moves. The transfers include more than a dozen career civil servants who have been moved from the leadership suite at VA headquarters and reassigned to lower-visibility roles. The employees served agency leaders, some dating back more than two decades, in crucial support roles that help a new secretary.
President Trump issued three executive orders Friday aimed at overhauling the federal bureaucracy by making it easier to fire poor performers, sharply curtailing the amount of time federal employees can be paid for union work and directing agencies to negotiate tougher union contracts.
President Trump’s ascendancy has reverberated across a workforce of 2.1 million civil servants, upending their sense of mission or empowering it, depending on where they sit. The career employees, who form the backbone of the federal bureaucracy, have become targets of the president’s campaign vow to “drain the swamp,” and they heard White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon pledge the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”
President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress are drawing up plans to take on the government bureaucracy they have long railed against, by eroding job protections and grinding down benefits that federal workers have received for a generation. Hiring freezes, an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, a ban on union business on the government’s dime and less generous pensions — these are the contours of the blueprint emerging under Republican control of Washington in January.