November 18, 2020

Warren Joins Peters, Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Block Trump Order Stripping Federal Employees of Critical Protections

Recent executive order will destroy the nonpartisan structure of the civil service in a time of a healthcare and economic crisis

Text of Bill (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, along with 39 of their colleagues in introducing legislation that would block the implementation of an October 21 Executive Order by President Trump, which created a new classification for federal employees, Schedule F. This harmful executive order would make it easier for the Administration to fire non-partisan civil servants with policy expertise.

On October 21, President Trump signed an executive order that would allow agency heads to convert certain policy-centric positions to a new classification, Schedule F, where there is greater flexibility to fire those employees. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Michael Rigas issued preliminary guidance on October 23 that suggests a broad interpretation of the types of positions that would be eligible for conversion. This has created concern that the administration could fire civil servants and create uncertainty in federal agencies that are critical to protecting the nation’s national security and addressing the ongoing pandemic. OPM has still not answered basic questions regarding the development, implementation and potential consequences of this hastily issued executive order.

Senators Warren and Peters were joined in introducing the legislation by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Senator Warren has been working to ensure protection of federal workers’ rights and the safety of our nation during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • In September 2020, Senator Warren cosponsored the Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act of 2020 to restore leave that is lost by federal employees during a public health emergency relating to a pandemic.

  • In April 2020, Senator Warren called for an Essential Workers Bill of Rights to guarantee rights, protections, and benefits for all essential workers. 

  • Since March, the senator has led and joined efforts in the Senate urging the President, Office of Management and Budget, and Office of Personnel Management to maximize telework across the workforce and not end telework prematurely.