What Federal Employees Should Know From the First Trump-Clinton Debate

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands after their first debate. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands after their first debate. Julio Cortez/AP

The Republican and Democratic nominees for president held their first debate on Monday, discussing a range of issues including how they would attempt to reform federal agencies and programs.

Donald Trump discussed the need to spend less and cut regulations, and boasted of the support he was won from federal employee groups. Clinton advocated several expanded roles for federal agencies, including through training local police and in responding to cyber attacks.

Here is a list of notable comments from both candidates as they relate to the federal government: 

Donald Trump

  • Trump opened the debate accusing the Obama administration of overspending, saying it “has topped 230 years worth of debt.”
  • Trump accused Clinton of creating new “bureaucratic red tape” for American businesses. He said her plans have “regulation on top of regulation.” He added: “I’m going to cut regulations.”
  • After Clinton brought up a story in which Trump failed to pay a contractor who worked on his buildings, Trump said the contractor probably did a bad job. He added the government should do the same. Clinton responded: “Sometimes what happened in business would be really bad for government.”
  • Trump boasted about endorsements from two federal employee groups, including one that came just Monday. Both the National Border Patrol Council and the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council have thrown their support behind the Republican nominee. Trump said Monday that "ICE" endorsed him; of course agencies do not issue endorsements, but their labor groups are free to do so.
  • As Trump concluded the debate, he noted the findings of a recent inspector general report in which the Homeland Security Department mistakenly granted citizenship to 858 individuals.

Hillary Clinton

  • Moderator Lester Holt and Hillary Clinton pressed Trump on why he has not released his tax returns, and the Republican blamed a perpetual audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Clinton accused Trump of paying no taxes and avoiding funding key government initiatives like the military and veterans affairs.
  • Clinton said federal agencies should play a larger role in training police forces to use more community-based tactics: “I think the federal government would be in a position to offer and provide that.”
  • The former secretary of State pledged to take stronger action in responding to cyber attacks against government data and employees: “We are not going to sit by and let bad actors go after our information, our private sector information and our public sector information.” 
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