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February 12, 2021 | Talking Points Memo
In the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, the Department of Justice was created in part to deliver and oversee equal rights to formerly enslaved Black men and women. This corrective institution was a major step toward building a federal government that protects the civil rights of all its citizens. In the wrong hands, however, the department can be weaponized. Whether through inaction or outright hostility on issues ranging from white-collar crime to mass incarceration, the values animating the nation’s top law enforcement agency matter.
February 08, 2021
This week, the Senate begins its historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump centered on his attempt to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results by inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol that ultimately resulted in five deaths. Yet, rather than a singularly heinous act unmoored from the rest of his presidency, Trump’s attempted coup was the culmination of years of attacks on the federal government. Today, the Revolving Door Project released a memo, “Existential Threat to the Civil Service: Politicization Under Trump,” which charts Trump’s long war on the people and agencies that constitute the backbone of our country.
February 01, 2021
The Bush Administration twisted the government’s neutral hiring process to staff the career civil service with right-wing ideologues. We don’t yet know if Trump did the same thing. And we won’t find out without help from Congress.
January 29, 2021
The American Prospect reported today that Cass Sunstein, the former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), is telling colleagues he is in line for a job in the Biden Administration. Environmental, labor, consumer advocacy, and progressive economic groups are united in their disdain toward Sunstein for his attacks on common-sense regulation throughout his time in the Obama Administration.
January 27, 2021
Last week, Joe Biden assumed the presidency amid multiple, overlapping, short- and long-term crises. The list of priorities for the new administration is long and fights over the relative emphasis placed on each are surely incoming. To sidestep these ugly battles and ensure that his administration rises to meet each of these pressing crises, President Joe Biden must use all available powers to rebuild the federal government’s capacity to act in the public interest. The Revolving Door Project’s latest memo, “Rapid Reinforcements: A Guide to Federal Hiring Authorities,” enumerates the authorities that a Biden administration can and should use to scale up civil service capacity quickly.
January 21, 2021
Yesterday, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. President Biden has promised to build back a better America, but he faces a steep climb to reach this lofty goal. The nation is still reeling from an ongoing pandemic and recession, and the government has had to cope with massive shocks to the civil service, morale, and its basic functions during the Trump administration. To make good on his promise, Biden will need to undo the damage from Trump and decades of right-wing actions to undermine governance.
January 19, 2021 | Slate
Over four years, federal workers were ignored, subjected to retaliation, and fired for articulating politically inconvenient truths or standing in the way of President Donald Trump’s attacks against the public. By all accounts, that is set to change under President-elect Joe Biden. But while new attacks may not be forthcoming, the fissures from old ones will remain, threatening the federal government’s structural integrity unless the next administration and Congress take action. For all that we know about Trump’s assaults on the federal workforce, there is likely more that remains hidden. Up to this point, Democratic leadership has failed to make combating or uncovering these incursions a priority. For the sake of the Biden administration’s success, that will need to change.
January 12, 2021
At the Revolving Door Project, we have frequently emphasized the importance of strengthening the civil service to ensure government works for public service and doesn’t cater to the interest of powerful people and corporations. We warned about how too much reliance on political appointments in the executive branch reduces accountability, citing academic research that political appointees perform worse than career managers. Especially in the Trump era, we have seen numerous examples of political appointees using the government for personal gain. Biden’s selection of William Burns, a career diplomat, as his CIA director should therefore be widely praised by progressives as a step towards restoring the civil service and depoliticizing the American intelligence community.
January 12, 2021
Over four years, the Trump administration pushed an already fragile government to the breaking point. Budget cuts, record civil service attrition and outright corruption (to name just a few) imperiled the most basic functions of the federal government to near collapse.
January 12, 2021
From the moment President Trump took office, he has been on a warpath with the civil service. He and his associates have waged an open war (and likely one behind closed doors as well) to seize control over federal employees just out of reach of easy firing. In October, as his presidency appeared rapidly to be approaching its end, he lobbed a bomb at the civil service system.
December 21, 2020
On Sunday Congress announced that it had reached a deal on a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the federal government funded through September. The package includes $1.375 billion for the border wall — sticking the incoming administration with a costly, unpopular, and inhumane project — and does nothing to halt President Trump’s attack on the civil service through the creation and implementation of the new “Schedule F” civil service classification.
November 20, 2020 | The American Prospect
Joe Biden Must Not Look for Unity in Mitch McConnell’s Obstruction
Last week, Mitch McConnell chose to fan the flames of baseless electoral conspiracy rather than acknowledge Joe Biden’s indisputable victory. Meanwhile, prominent Democrats took to the airwaves to insist that working with McConnell would not be nearly as hard as people claimed. This is dangerous, wishful thinking.
November 18, 2020 | The Hill
GSA head's transition refusal a predictable consequence of too many political appointees
General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy is often introduced as “obscure” or “little known.” Her new-found notoriety stems from her refusal to declare Joe Biden as the president-elect. This inaction blocks his team from meeting with senior agency personnel, even as Murphy herself looks for her next job. Murphy has drawn bipartisan condemnation for playing along with Trump’s assault on democracy. The condemnation should extend to the system that prioritizes rewarding political operatives like Murphy over any principles of merit, efficiency or meaningful accountability.
November 02, 2020 | Talking Points Memo
A Lame Duck Trump Admin Will Do All It Can To Pilfer Before Jan. Dems Must Be Ruthless In Thwarting It.
The way tomorrow’s election will go remains highly uncertain. If Trump loses, however, there is no doubt that his administration will set about destroying and pilfering all that it can. Already, as they stare down the barrel of electoral defeat, Trump and his entourage are previewing their lame-duck plan to shovel every federal dollar they can to family and friends.
October 29, 2020 | The American Prospect
Note to Biden: A President Can Do a Lot Even Without the Senate
For almost four years, the breathtaking cruelty, mismanagement, and corruption of the Trump administration have kept the pundits yapping, the printing presses running, angry congressional letters flying, and the Twittersphere ablaze. Depending on the results of next Tuesday’s election, however, Joe Biden may soon be in a position to actually do something about it all. As Biden and his advisers survey the rubble, it will be important that they not get distracted by the nonsense (“I will tweet less” is not a compelling administrative pillar), but rather home in on those features of the Trump administration that have made life worse for millions.