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House Passes Legislation To Protect American Civil Service

Preventing a Patronage System Act would block revival of Trump “Schedule F” executive action

The U.S. House today passed H.R. 302, the Preventing a Patronage System Act, Rep. Gerry Connolly’s (D-VA) legislation to protect the integrity of the American civil service from political attacks and purges like those sought by former president Donald Trump. The bill passed with all Democrats and six Republicans voting in favor.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the House, spoke during debate in support of the bill:

“Madame Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 302, sponsored by my friend and colleague from Virginia.

Three out of my four grandparents were federal workers, and I represent more federal employees than any other Member of Congress. I have a deep appreciation for the vital work our civil service does to keep our government functioning.

Our federal employees have endured attack after attack from our former President and his allies.

The most significant threat to our federal workers came when the former President tried to use executive action to strip federal workers of their most basic protections and replace our career civil servants with political loyalists.

His rule would have made a huge number of federal employees fireable by any future President, overturning decades-old system put in place by Congress to prevent this kind politicization from happening.

Congress passed the Pendleton Act 139 years ago to require civil servants to be politically independent. Donald Trump has been clear that the only qualification he cares about is political loyalty to him. Not loyalty to the country. Not experience. Not competence.

Should Schedule F ever be enacted, any future President unilaterally could transform a whole government overnight in wildly destructive ways.

The bill we are about to vote on would prevent something like Schedule F from ever becoming law. It would block any reclassifications of federal employees to Schedule F and prevent any position in the competitive service from being reclassified to an excepted service position.

This bill is essential to keep federal employees from being used as a political bargaining chip and protects the careers of thousands of civil servants and their families along with the legitimacy of the institutions under which they serve.”