Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Trump administration releases plan on government reform

On April 12, Office of Management and Budget Director Mulvaney released a “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce,” a memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies.

The memo calls for “a long-term workforce reduction plan” and “surgical reductions to the workforce,” which translates as cuts to agencies, removal of programs and layoffs. Agencies are instructed to submit proposals by June 30 on how they intend to bring their workforce size and activities in line with the Trump administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget plan.

In the interim, the memo states that “eliminating unnecessary vacant positions can begin immediately” to create a “lean, accountable” government.

While this has been stylized as an end to the administration’s earlier “hiring freeze,” the implication is that certain agencies—expected to make significant cuts to their workforce size in the future—must make smaller, immediate cuts in the short-term.

This directive effectively reverts these agencies right back into the freeze from which they were just released.

An attempt at dramatic restructuring of the government like this has serious implications for most federal employees beyond FY2018. The memo appears to recognize that extensive reductions in the federal workforce are unlikely this year and even into next year. It is important to note, however, that a majority of congressional Republicans agree with the administration’s intent, if not its specific proposals.

Broad federal agency cuts, removal of programs and layoffs could be expected should Congress agree to them in the coming budgets, though any specific impacts on the Postal Service are unclear.

You can find the full memorandum here.

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