Congressman John Sarbanes

Representing the 3rd District of Maryland

Trump Wants to Kill this Federal Agency. Democrats Blasted the Idea.

May 21, 2019
In The News

Top House Democrats on Tuesday savaged the Trump administration’s plan to blow up the Office of Personnel Management, calling the effort to close the major federal agency a backdoor power play to weaken the federal workforce. The hostile reception, alongside tepid support from Republicans, left the plan’s chances in doubt and raised the possibility that the administration would dismantle some of the agency’s functions on its own, even if Congress fails to pass legislation to do it…. The proposed breakup, which has consumed the personnel agency for more than a year, would pull apart OPM and its 5,565 federal employees and divide it among three other departments…. Critics say the proposal is a ploy to politicize the civil service by installing political appointees close to the White House…. [Acting OPM director, Margaret] Weichert said the staff is so bogged down by technology problems that it cannot carry out its core mission of enacting policies to improve the 2.1 million-strong civil service — particularly by raising morale — and conduct succession planning for an aging workforce…. But the most pointed criticism was left to Democrats, who, while acknowledging the problems with OPM’s legacy computer systems, questioned the administration’s motives in breaking up a department with a government-wide role. “It just sounds like you’re proceeding on a wing and prayer here,” Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) told Weichert, calling her justification “quite facile and a kind of double talk.”