Trump wants to kill this federal agency. Democrats blasted the idea.

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Washington, May 22, 2019 | comments
Washington Post

Top House Democrats on Tuesday savaged the Trump administration’s plan to blow up the Office of Personnel Management, calling the effort to close the major federal agency a backdoor power play to weaken the federal workforce.

The hostile reception, alongside tepid support from Republicans, left the plan’s chances in doubt and raised the possibility that the administration would dismantle some of the agency’s functions on its own, even if Congress fails to pass legislation to do it.

“Today is a reckoning,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s panel on government operations, which held a three-hour hearing titled “The Administration’s War on a Merit Based Civil Service.”

“There is no clear and convincing reason for dismantling this key federal agency,” Connolly said, calling the plan a “a reckless endgame in search of a rationale” that was rushed through and would be unlikely to be approved by Congress.
The proposed breakup, which has consumed the personnel agency for more than a year, would pull apart OPM and its 5,565 federal employees and divide it among three other departments.

Most of its functions would move into the General Services Administration, the government’s real estate and procurement arm. OPM’s massive, backlogged security clearance system already is in the process of shifting to the Defense Department, through legislation previously passed by Congress.

OPM’s leadership would shift from an agency director responsible for federal workforce policy to a position within the White House budget office that the president would appoint directly — but that would not require Senate confirmation.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), a lawmaker with tens of thousands of federal employees in his district, asked, “Why would we take an organization that’s apparently struggling and move it to a larger bureaucracy that will inevitably be less flexible?’’

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