- Schedule F, a controversial classification within the federal government, is proposed to significantly alter the job security and protections of civil service employees.
- The reclassification would give the President power to hire and fire civil service employees in policy-making or confidential roles, impacting nearly 100,000 federal workers across multiple agencies.
- Donald Trump and his allies have been pushing Schedule F as part of a larger agenda for increasing presidential power, as reported by Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage, and Maggie Haberman from The New York Times.
- Schedule F, seen as a potential tool for executing retribution against “uncooperative” government workers, fits into Trump’s broader plan for his 2025 term, as highlighted by Bess Levin from Vanity Fair and Alan Smith from NBC News.
- Critics assert that the potential implementation of Schedule F represents an authoritarian power grab disguised as reform.
Decoding Schedule F
Schedule F is a proposed federal employment classification intended to shift certain civil service roles – those involving policy-making or confidential duties – into a category with significantly fewer protections. Rather than being protected by the usual strict regulations and due process that apply to hiring and firing in the civil service, these employees would now serve at the will of the President and political appointees. This could potentially impact nearly 100,000 federal workers across multiple agencies including the Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Justice, among others.
Trump’s Authoritarian Designs
As reported by Jonathan Swan, Charlie Savage, and Maggie Haberman in The New York Times, Donald Trump and his allies see Schedule F as a tool for bolstering presidential power. The narrative gets darker as Swan from Axios reveals Trump’s view of Schedule F as a weapon against perceived elements of a “deep state.”
Under the proposed Schedule F, the President could appoint or dismiss employees without adherence to the standards of merit-based selection. In essence, this would allow the administration to stack agencies with loyalists while discarding those deemed disloyal or noncompliant. The firing of career officials could occur without the traditional protocols of evidence or due process.
Retribution Disguised as Reform
In an NBC News article, Alan Smith describes Schedule F as a central piece of Trump’s ‘retribution agenda’ against government workers. It appears to be a response to Trump’s first-term frustrations with a bureaucratic system that resisted his commands. Trump’s readiness to bypass traditional checks and balances under the guise of government ‘reform’ has alarmed observers.
Slate’s Daniel Moynihan reports that the former President feels that he was “burned” by his inability to control the civil service during his first term, and sees Schedule F as the corrective measure. The proposed policy provides the President with an unprecedented level of control over the federal workforce – a move that Moynihan and others view as more in line with consolidating power than achieving real reform.
Bess Levin from Vanity Fair starkly comments on the lack of subtlety in Trump’s plans, “Trump isn’t even trying to hide his authoritarian plans for a second term.”
Schedule F, under the guise of reform, could fundamentally alter the balance of power within the federal workforce.
For additional reading:
- Swan, J., Savage, C., & Haberman, M. (2023, July 18). Trump and Allies Forge Plans to Increase Presidential Power in 2025. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/17/us/politics/trump-plans-2025.html
- Cai, S. (2023, May 21). Trump’s 2025 vision, revealed. Axios. Retrieved from https://www.axios.com/2023/05/21/trump-2025-vision
- Swan, J. (2022, July 23). Inside Trump ’25: Trump’s revenge. Axios. Retrieved from https://www.axios.com/2022/07/23/donald-trump-news-schedule-f-executive-order
- Swan, J. (2022, July 22). A radical plan for Trump’s second term. Axios. Retrieved from https://www.axios.com/2022/07/22/trump-2025-radical-plan-second-term
- Levin, B. (2023, July 17). Donald Trump Isn’t Even Trying to Hide His Authoritarian Plans for a Second Term. Vanity Fair. Retrieved from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/07/donald-trump-isnt-even-trying-to-hide-his-authoritarian-plans-for-a-second-term
- Moynihan, D. (2022, July 27). Trump Got Burned by a Major Mistake in His First Term. He Won’t Make It Again. Slate. Retrieved from https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/07/donald-trump-schedule-f-civil-service-authoritarian.html
- Smith, A. (2023, April 26). Trump zeroes in on a key target of his ‘retribution’ agenda: Government workers. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-retribution-agenda-government-workers-schedule-f-rcna78785