NTEU Urges House Vote on Bill to Protect Merit-Based Workforce

Press Release May 25, 2021

Washington D.C. – Bipartisan legislation to preserve the merit-based federal civil service, endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, was approved today by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. 


The Preventing a Patronage System Act, sponsored by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would require the approval of Congress to reclassify any position in the competitive service to one outside of the competitive service where the merit system principles may not apply.


H.R. 302 now goes to the full House for consideration. 


“It is unfortunate that this legislation is even necessary but we came all too close to backsliding into a spoils system under the last administration, so we encourage the House to move quickly and give federal employees assurance that their jobs will continue to be based on skill, not politics,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said. 


An October 2020 executive order from then-President Trump threatened the nonpartisan, nonpolitical professional workforce by potentially moving thousands of jobs into a newly created Schedule F, eliminating their due process protections and allowing them to be fired at will, with little recourse. President Biden rescinded the Trump order within hours of his inauguration before any federal employees could be harmed. 


“Schedule F was such a threat to our country’s 138-year-old tradition of a merit-based civil service that NTEU filed a lawsuit to block it,” Reardon said. “With the Preventing a Patronage System Act, we would never again have to worry that a future president could ruin this pillar of our democracy with the stroke of a pen.” 


NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and offices.