Senator Tim Kaine has slammed Trump for his plan to empower federal agency heads through Congress to dismiss federal employees. According to Kane, president Trump was afraid of being forced to be accountable by federal employees that may just be doing their jobs.
While addressing federal workers during the annual legislative and grassroots mobilization conference organized by the American Federation of Government Employee’s (AFGE), Kane argued that Trump is a power hungry president that should not be given powers to fire federal employees at will.
On January 30, Trump called for the extension of firing powers to all federal agencies and praised the VA Accountability Act. The Act gives firing power to the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs to dismiss employees that are perceived to go against the set guidelines.
Trump claimed that federal employees that undermine public trust should be removed from federal service while good workers should be rewarded by the relevant Cabinet secretary. Currently, Cabinet Secretaries and federal agency heads do not have such powers, and Trump was calling on the Congress to empower them.
Kaine said that Trump’s remarks did not in any way surprise him and that the objective of Trump’s current campaign is to come up with a way of punishing political disloyalty in federal service. He claimed that the president has already sacked the deputy attorney general and an FBI Director for perceived political disloyalty.
According to Kaine, Trump has in the recent past threatened to stop a special investigation, and this is a clear sign of his intentions. In fact, Kaine claims that he wants to force people to be loyal to him instead of being loyal to the constitution.
The Congress has already received a Republican proposal on the issue, but Kaine and a good number of other Senators are opposed to the new plan. In fact, the proposal can only pass the Senate with 60 votes, and Kaine is happy that this is an uphill task. Currently, Republicans have a slim majority of 51 members and any opposition from Democrats will make it difficult to pass the bill.
An attempt to extend the VA Accountability Act to other agencies is a continuation of Trump administration’s attack on Civil Service. Other attacks have been the two government shutdowns and the hiring freeze. J. David Cox, the current AFGE President, observes that there has been a rise in the leach class whose intention is to suck the life from federal service.