Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.
ARCHIVES

Trump to Cabinet: I’m Cutting Your Budgets, But Expect ‘Lots of Heart’

President Trump held a Cabinet meeting Wednesday to discuss a range of domestic policy issues. He opened the session by telling the assembled department leaders they needed to fight to reduce their own budgets.

But lest the president be perceived as a cold, calculating cost-cutter, he said he still expected federal agencies to operate with “lots of heart.”

From Trump’s remarks:

So we want to also reduce excessive government spending, and that's what we're working on at our Cabinet meeting today. As we head into next year's budget season, I've asked [Office of Management and Budget] Director [Mick] Mulvaney to come up and find various savings in all of the departments that are gathered around the table, which is everybody. I need my Cabinet to work with Director Mulvaney to fight these spending cuts—fight for them—and make sure that they happen. And we want to make the departments as lean and efficient as possible, but at the same time, we're going to need departments with lots of heart, lots of heart.

In March, Trump issued an executive order ordering agencies to develop reorganization plans to eliminate redundancies in federal operations and reduce...

Report: Feds Are Getting Older and the Government Can't Hire Young People

Look around your office, feds. Do your coworkers seem more likely to be fans of CSI: Miami than of any YouTube star? Chances are, they do.

According to a report published by Politico Wednesday, the federal workforce is older than the American workforce overall. More than a quarter of federal employees are older than 55 and only 17 percent are under 35, as compared to 40 percent of private sector employees. The age gap is huge in some agencies, with 80 percent of Government Publishing Office workers over the age of 45 and 69 percent of NASA employees over 45.

Politico reporter Danny Vinik cites many reasons for the shifting age of the feds. The current economy is less stable and "it’s not exactly a surprise that many government employees have decided to continue working late into their careers," he writes. Additionally, the baby boomer generation was the largest generation in American history until it was overtaken by Millennials last year

Mostly, Vinik spoke to experts in federal personnel management and found that the government has done a poor job of recruiting and retaining younger workers. Congress has not always allowed agencies to hire more nimbly to bring in...

Hillary Clinton to Feds: ‘Stick It Out’ Under Trump and the Tide Will Turn

President Trump has promised to slash the federal workforce and reduce agency budgets in his effort to remake and shrink the government. On Monday, his former opponent Hillary Clinton offered a glimpse into the entirely different atmosphere in which feds may have found themselves if the election had turned out differently.

Clinton, the former Democratic presidential nominee and secretary of State now on a tour to promote her latest book What Happened, acknowledged civil servants are in a tough situation. The Trump administration has created a bad climate in federal offices, she said, but she encouraged employees to “stick it out.”

“I don’t want us to lose the decades — really, if you added it all up, the thousands of years — of experience in the [Environmental Protection Agency], in the State Department, in the Labor Department, in a lot of the places being targeted by the administration,” Clinton said at an event in Washington, D.C., on Monday, according to Politico. “At some point they’re going to need you, and the country is going to need you. And I hope you’re still there.”

» Get the best federal news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here...

Best-Selling Author Takes on Trump’s Rocky Transition

Celebrity author Michael Lewis, whose influential financial titles include “Moneyball,” “The Big Short” and “The Blind Side,” is immersing himself in President Trump’s handling of the change in administrations.

At this weekend’s National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Library of Congress, Lewis was asked about his next project. He riffed on how the carefully planned presidential transition process that involves naming 4,000 new appointees and mandatory departures of the outgoing administration’s political appointees, was mishandled by a seemingly apathetic Trump.

At the Energy Department, “I got the briefing Trump didn’t get,” he said, referring to his reporting that ended up as a June Vanity Fair article titled, “Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House.” 

» Get the best federal news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

In that piece, Lewis wrote in his entertaining style that “the period between the election and the inauguration has the feel of an A.P. chemistry class to which half the students have turned up late and are forced to scramble to grab the notes taken by the other half.”

This Saturday, he warned that the...

Did Ben Carson Violate a Federal Law at Trump’s Campaign Rally?

Ben Carson spoke of God, shared values, his career as a surgeon and the fleeting nature of life itself in a short address at a campaign rally for President Trump on Tuesday. At no point did he discuss his current job, the secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department.

That title, however, is exactly how he was introduced, which could now land him in hot water. The 1939 Hatch Act allows federal officials to attend and speak at political events, but they must do so in a personal, rather than official, capacity. Carson blurred that line when he was introduced as HUD secretary and by failing to clarify he was speaking at the rally solely as a private citizen.

Jerry Brown, a HUD spokesman, said the department does not "believe there was a Hatch Act violation," but noted it is "consulting with [its] ethics office on the matter to ensure it doesn’t occur again." Carson, Brown explained, simply "did not hear his name before he was cued to go on." 

The secretary could face repercussions if an individual files a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel, which serves at the Hatch Act enforcer for the federal government...