Trump ends fed­eral agency hir­ing freeze

Makes move to over­haul gov­ern­ment

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY DAVID BOYER

Pres­i­dent Trump is lift­ing his gov­ern­men­twide hir­ing freeze Wed­nes­day, al­low­ing cer­tain fed­eral agen­cies to fill po­si­tions con­sis­tent with his pro­posed bud­get.

Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get Di­rec­tor Mick Mul­vaney is­sued guid­ance to all fed­eral de­part­ments al­low­ing them to re­sume hir­ing as part of a re­struc­tur­ing of the en­tire gov­ern­ment that the ad­min­is­tra­tion hopes to be in place by the 2019 fis­cal year.

“The gov­ern­ment hir­ing freeze will end with the re­lease of this guid­ance,” Mr. Mul­vaney told re­porters Tues­day. “That does not mean that the agen­cies will be free to hire willy-nilly. Cer­tain agen­cies will end up hir­ing more peo­ple.”

Mr. Trump or­dered a fed­eral hir­ing freeze on Jan. 23, say­ing he needed to halt the growth of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Pres­i­dent Obama left of­fice with more than 1.4 mil­lion fed­eral em­ploy­ees in civil­ian agen­cies, a jump of about 10 per­cent from the time he took of­fice in 2009 but less than the 17 per­cent hike un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Mr. Trump’s pro­posed bud­get for fis­cal 2018, which be­gins Oct. 1, en­vi­sions spend­ing roughly the same $1.1 tril­lion on dis­cre­tionary pro­grams as the cur­rent bud­get. But he calls for rais­ing de­fense spend­ing and cut­ting a cor­re­spond­ing amount from other non-de­fense agen­cies.

The pres­i­dent’s pro­posed bud­get calls for deep cuts in places such as the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and the State Depart­ment, where thou­sands of jobs could be elim­i­nated. In other de­part­ments, such as De­fense, Home­land Se­cu­rity and Veter­ans Af­fairs, more hir­ing is ex­pected.

Un­der the re­form plan, fed­eral agen­cies are to sub­mit their ideas for re­struc­tur­ing to OMB by Septem­ber. The White House also is start­ing to so­licit ideas from Congress, with Mr. Mul­vaney cit­ing the ex­am­ple of con­sol­i­dat­ing some of the gov­ern­ment’s more than 40 job train­ing pro­grams in 13 agen­cies.

“This is some­thing we hope will unite Democrats and Repub­li­cans,” he said. “Ev­ery­body dis­likes bad gov­ern­ment.”

Other pres­i­dents, in­clud­ing Bill Clin­ton and Ron­ald Rea­gan, have tried sim­i­lar ap­proaches but largely failed to re­vise the gov­ern­ment’s makeup.

Asked why Mr. Trump’s plan will suc­ceed, Mr. Mul­vaney replied, “This is re­ally im­por­tant to the pres­i­dent. This is a big part of drain­ing the swamp. What you’re talk­ing about do­ing is re­struc­tur­ing Wash­ing­ton, D.C. This is a cen­ter­piece of his cam­paign.”

Mick Mul­vaney

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