More than three dozen Senate Democrats and independents have lined up to support new legislation that would block implementation of President Trump’s controversial executive order that would create a new “Schedule F” classification for Federal employees in policy-making positions and make it easier to hire and fire them.

The Senate bill introduced on Nov. 18 mirrors the intent of similar legislation debuted in the House in late October by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., who introduced the bill, said the Trump administration order would

“not only strip protections away from hard-working, dedicated civil servants,” but also create “chaos and dysfunction during the ongoing pandemic and Presidential transition.”

“Our country is facing a number of serious challenges that must be quickly and effectively tackled, from safeguarding our national security to addressing the Coronavirus pandemic – and non-partisan federal employees carry out this critical work,” the senator said. “I am proud to lead this legislation that will prevent the Trump Administration from creating uncertainty for Federal employees at a time when their work is incredibly important to protecting American lives.”

The intent of the Senate and House bills also won endorsement from Max Stier, president of the Partnership for Public Service, who said in a statement, “Congress should move quickly to stop Schedule F in its tracks. The executive order raises the risk of large-scale reclassifications and removals of civil servants over the next two months when our government should be focused on addressing the pandemic, aiding economic recovery and ensuring our national security.”

“In the long term, the order will erode the merit-based, nonpartisan framework of the Federal civil service, leading us back to the days of the spoils system and cronyism. Members of both parties should be alarmed,” Stier said.

The bill has the backing of 39 Senate Democrats, and both of the Senate independents.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.