Republicans unleash effort making it easier to fire federal bureaucrats


FIRST ON FOX: Republican lawmakers are planning to reintroduce legislation Friday that would make it easier for federal agencies to fire underperforming employees and quickly address misconduct.

The Public Service Reform Act — set to be introduced by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, in the House and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., in the Senate — would implement a series of reforms aimed at streamlining the federal workforce. The federal workforce is composed of about 2.1 million civilian workers, Office of Personnel Management data showed, making the government one of the world’s largest employers.

“It is far past time to reinstate accountability to the people for the federal bureaucracy by requiring that like any private sector employee, federal workers can be removed from their positions,” Roy told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

“Notwithstanding the majority of federal workers who faithfully serve, especially our law enforcement personnel, we should not allow a wall of red tape to shield those engaged in noncompliance with the law and brazen political partisanship,” he continued. “Federal employees should keep their jobs based on merit, just like the people they serve.”

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Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, attends a press conference on March 28 at the Capitol. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Roy’s legislation would make all federal employees at-will, meaning they can be removed for almost any reason except for prohibited personnel practices such as discrimination

Under current law, the vast majority of the federal workforce is not at-will and may only be terminated for misconduct, poor performance, medical inability and reduction in force. Federal employees are also entitled to sweeping due process rights when fired which can create a cumbersome process for agencies to remove a worker. 

To address the current system, the Public Service Reform Act proposes to give an employee 14 days to provide a written response when notified of their termination. The employee’s supervisor can then choose whether to move forward with the firing, though the agency head can schedule a hearing and can, along with the president, reverse the termination within seven days.

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The legislation would eliminate the ability for a fired worker to pursue outside appeals and would removed Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent agency formed in 1979 to protect federal workers from partisan terminations.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., attends a Senate hearing on Feb. 15. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“I’ve spent my life leading organizations of every shape and size. Whether running a small donut shop, America’s largest health care company, or the great state of Florida, I know from firsthand experience the importance of having an effective and dedicated team that share a common mission,” Scott said in a statement to Fox News Digital. 

“It’s clear that the bureaucracy of the federal government is both a waste of taxpayer dollars and inefficient,” the Florida senator added. “Red tape and bloated federal agencies constantly slow down progress and hamper American innovation. It’s time to change Washington so it actually work for the American people.” 

“The Public Service Reform Act will boost accountability and responsiveness across the federal government by making all executive branch employees at-will. This is commonsense and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this good bill.”

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The Public Service Reform Act, which Roy introduced in July 2022 during the previous Congress, has received endorsements from several conservative advocacy groups including Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and Citizens for Renewing America.

Tourists visit the fence line on the north side of the White House

The federal workforce is composed of about 2.1 million civilian workers, according to the Office of Personnel Management. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

James Sherk — the director of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for American Freedom and a former White House economic adviser during the Trump administration — argued such policies were necessary to ensure federal employees are held accountable for misconduct.

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“A good number of federal employees have chosen political sides and use their position in the bureaucracy to frustrate policies they don’t like,” Sherk said in an interview. “And, because they have these civil service protections, it’s very hard to advance the president’s agenda in the face of their policy resistance.”

“This strikes at the foundations of our democratic republic,” Sherk continued. “The American people vote for the president. But if the federal bureaucracy will not do what the president tells it to do, then he doesn’t have the ability to implement the policies the American people elected him to advance. That creates a government that is no longer accountable to the governed.”

Reps. Erin Houchin, R-Ind., Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., Troy Nehls, R-Texas, Tom McClintock, R-Calif., Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, Dan Bishop, R-N.C., Bob Good, R-Va., Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., and Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., were listed as cosponsors on the legislation in the House.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., was the sole cosponsor in the Senate.



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