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The 'Chilling' Trump Plan That Could Pave The Way For Authoritarianism

Donald Trump has no greater enemy than the United States’ federal bureaucracy — what he calls the “deep state.” And he has a plan to bend it to his will if he’s elected in November.

The plan, to create something called “Schedule F,” would make tens of thousands of civil servants easier to fire, fundamentally changing the nature of the federal government — and, some worry, paving the way for authoritarianism.

Schedule F is a new category, or schedule, of federal workers who are exempt from codified job protections, like being hired and fired based on merit and having the ability to appeal disciplinary action.

The majority of federal civil service employees, from climate scientists to bank examiners to IT specialists, are covered by these protections; some positions, like postal workers and intelligence officers, are currently exempt. That system ensures that experience and skill, rather than political favoritism or personal connections, guide hiring and firing decisions within the federal government.

But conservatives have long complained that the president should exercise more control over the federal bureaucracy, and Trump in particular has said it needs to be “brought to heel.”

Trump created Schedule F in an October 2020 executive order. Under that order, federal workers involved in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making and policy-advocating positions” — a vague description that would include at least tens of thousands of people — would be stripped of their civil service protections and reclassified as “at-will” appointees, meaning they could be hired or fired for any reason, or none at all.

Because the order came so late in Trump’s presidency, only a handful of agencies created lists of specific jobs

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