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Old 04-09-2019, 01:10 PM
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How difficult would it be for a Democratic POTUS to replace Trump's executive branch employees?


This question is inspired by the latest fiasco in the Homeland Security department and the firing of the head of the Secret Service. Let's assume that the Democratic nominee wins in 2020. How easy or difficult is it going to be for the new POTUS to undo all the changes to personnel Trump has made? Of course the cabinet would be all new, but what about the heads of the lower level departments like the IRS, ICE, Secret Service, etc. What about the lower level officers like the deputy / assistant / associate level officials in the various departments? Let's leave aside the issue of judicial appointments, as that's to depressing to even think about right now.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:09 PM
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there are jobs that are classified as political and they are normally replaced with a new president.

Other jobs at lower levels have some types of protection from being fired for politics. At what level that protection kicks in might depend on which department you are in. But even at those levels people might quit on their own if they don't like the direction things are going. I recall reading EPA people quit after Trump took over even though they did not have to quit.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:19 PM
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It looks like for the most part the changes Trump is making is at the high level political appointee level rather than with the rank and file civil service. This is because there are protections for civil service workers that aren't in place for appointees, and because they low enough on the totem pole that its not worth while singling each one out. So for the most part these can be removed and replaced by a new administration as easily as Trump did their predecessors.

The main exceptions are, as you pointed out, is the judiciary, where McConnel's obstruction of Obama appointees held open positions for Trump to fill that once filled are set for life, and the FBI director which was supposed to be for a 10 year term so as to prevent it from being influenced politically (we saw how that went). Another supposedly independent position that Trump is eyeing is the Federal reserve chairman, but so far he hasn't acted.

That said there have been a fair amount of inderect fallout that has filtered down to the rank and file civil service. Particularly in the EPA and the State Department, where they have reached the conclusion that the administrations goals are in direct conflict with their work. The sever brain drain caused by these departures is going to take quite some time to reverse.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 04-09-2019 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:23 PM
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I suppose part of the question is how difficult it's going to be to get the people from the old guard back in place. I wonder if many or any of them are waiting it out or if most of them have moved on in the private sector. If they've moved on I would guess that it's going to be harder to replace, say, a mid-level EPA employee.
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Old 04-09-2019, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by FlikTheBlue View Post
How easy or difficult is it going to be for the new POTUS to undo all the changes to personnel Trump has made? Of course the cabinet would be all new, but what about the heads of the lower level departments like the IRS, ICE, Secret Service, etc. What about the lower level officers like the deputy / assistant / associate level officials in the various departments?
Most of the positions you've identified would be "political" positions where the incumbent would expect to be replaced (and often resign in anticipation of being replaced) by a new administration. So, very easy to replace.

The IRS Commissioner is appointed to a five-year term, so Rettig should be in office until November 2022.
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:38 PM
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I suppose part of the question is how difficult it's going to be to get the people from the old guard back in place. I wonder if many or any of them are waiting it out or if most of them have moved on in the private sector. If they've moved on I would guess that it's going to be harder to replace, say, a mid-level EPA employee.
Given the high age of the federal workforce (over half >50) and government retirement rules, there's a lot of early retirements I'd guess (matches what I've seen in my fed office during past downsizes). The ones with specialized-enough knowledge often hang up a contracting shingle and work some fraction of the year, often for the same dept. they just left. It's still a loss to workforce cohesiveness and institutional knowledge, but there will be old guarders out there.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:39 PM
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Given that the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency. If the Republicans still control the Senate, that might mean a lot of vacancies.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:34 PM
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Given that the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency. If the Republicans still control the Senate, that might mean a lot of vacancies.
I think you mean preciprocate. That's what the Republicans have already done.
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:44 PM
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Given that the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency. If the Republicans still control the Senate, that might mean a lot of vacancies.
Why is petty spitefulness more important to you than competence?
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:59 PM
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According to the United States Office of Government Ethics, a political appointee is "any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency head". As of 2016, there are around 4,000 political appointment positions which an incoming administration needs to review, and fill or confirm, of which about 1,200 require Senate confirmation.

These positions are published in the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions (the Plum Book), a new edition of which is released after each United States presidential election.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poli..._United_States

Here is the Plum Book:
https://www.govinfo.gov/collection/p...um%20Book%2529

Last edited by PastTense; 04-09-2019 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 04-09-2019, 08:04 PM
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Why is petty spitefulness more important to you than competence?
Because it doesn't matter what Republicans do or did as long as they win, for HurricaneDitka. Democrats are evil, if you didn't know.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:52 AM
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Why is petty spitefulness more important to you than competence?
This has been the conservative stance for 10 years now. I doubt you'll get an honest answer.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:08 AM
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I think you mean preciprocate. That's what the Republicans have already done.
No, I meant exactly what I said: "... the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency." In other words, I hope, and believe, it will be extremely difficult for a Democratic POTUS to replace President Trump's executive branch employees, at least so long as Republicans control the Senate.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:10 AM
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Why is petty spitefulness more important to you than competence?
"Competence" is not the word I'd use to describe Obama's appointees, and I have no reason to expect any more "competence" from the next Dem's nominees than the last one's. As for "petty spitefulness", it's about teaching the Dems that their actions have consequences. You can't vote in virtual lockstep against Republican nominees and not expect them to respond in kind.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 04-10-2019 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:37 AM
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Of course they wouldn't. I expect them to act out of petty spite. What I don't understand is the hope they'll do so. I would think a patriotic fellow like you would want them to behave like adults.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:45 AM
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Of course they wouldn't. I expect them to act out of petty spite. What I don't understand is the hope they'll do so. I would think a patriotic fellow like you would want them to behave like adults.
When the Dems are behaving like drunken toddlers, playing by Marquess of Queensberry Rules does not seem like a wise move. What you seem to be proposing is that you guys get to vote in virtual lockstep against Republican nominees but that we shouldn't do the same to you. Seems dumb. Real dumb.
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:24 AM
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No, I meant exactly what I said: "... the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency." In other words, I hope, and believe, it will be extremely difficult for a Democratic POTUS to replace President Trump's executive branch employees, at least so long as Republicans control the Senate.
So, like McConnell did to Obama's nominations for judges?

You keep acting like Democrats started it. How many times have you crowed about Reid ending the filibuster? When did that happen again, before or after Trump and the Democrats "historic obstruction"?
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Old 04-10-2019, 03:30 AM
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When the Dems are behaving like drunken toddlers, playing by Marquess of Queensberry Rules does not seem like a wise move. What you seem to be proposing is that you guys get to vote in virtual lockstep against Republican nominees but that we shouldn't do the same to you. Seems dumb. Real dumb.
The Party of Family Values and Personal Responsibility elected serial philanderer, draft dodger, never-met-a-bankruptcy-he-could-avoid Trump, campaigning on eliminating the national debt and draining the swamp. In return, the deficit has ballooned like an orange dictator-wannabe and record numbers of Cabinet-level nominees leaving in disgrace after their graft was discovered, and the most recent Supreme Court nominee literally yelled at Senators during his confirmation hearings like a - wait for it - drunken toddler.

But yeah, it's REPUBLICANS that are totally playing by the rules. Condescension doesn't fit those mired in hypocrisy and blind obedience to Trump, of all people.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:52 AM
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Hey guys, HD is just still sore that Democrats blocked a vote on Orin Hatch’s favorite judge (Hatch’s words), Merrick Garland.

Cut him some slack and time to breathe.
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:00 AM
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:22 AM
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No, I meant exactly what I said: "... the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency." In other words, I hope, and believe, it will be extremely difficult for a Democratic POTUS to replace President Trump's executive branch employees, at least so long as Republicans control the Senate.
It is true that the Democrats have acted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees. It is also true that they have done so not for partisan reasons as implied, but rather because many of President Trump's nominees have been grossly unqualified for the roles for which they were nominated (Betsy DeVos being the most egregious example) and thus opposing them was less "acting like drunken toddlers" and more "doing their actual job". Of course, it's also worth noting at the same time that Republicans voted in lockstep to approve these grossly unqualified candidates, often following receipt of substantial donations to the relevant committee members' campaign funds, which seems less kosher to me.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:03 AM
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When the Dems are behaving like drunken toddlers, playing by Marquess of Queensberry Rules does not seem like a wise move. What you seem to be proposing is that you guys get to vote in virtual lockstep against Republican nominees but that we shouldn't do the same to you. Seems dumb. Real dumb.
You still haven't explained why you hope Republicans behave in a spiteful, petty fashion rather than like adults.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:24 AM
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You still haven't explained why you hope Republicans behave in a spiteful, petty fashion rather than like adults.
He did. He said it was the Democrats' fault.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:34 AM
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I'm sure Mitch McConnell would love it if the Democrats governed based on terror of what future Republican governments might do. It wouldn't change anything McConnell would do in the future, but it would surely make his present job of doing everything possible to aid the hateful and harmful policies of Trump much easier.

It would be profoundly foolish if the Democrats to govern based on terror of future Republicans. Far better and wiser to try and actually provide oversight of this president and challenge his nominees when they are obviously professionally or ethically/morally unqualified.
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Last edited by iiandyiiii; 04-10-2019 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:14 AM
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No, I meant exactly what I said: "... the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency."
So your response to the fact that Republicans voted in lockstep to oppose Obama appointees is to hope that that sort of nonsense continues into the far future.
The overwhelming number of Trump appointees have been unqualified, incompetent, and/or corrupt (as demonstrated by the huge number that have resigned in disgrace) and the tragedy is not that the Democrats have opposed them, but that so few Republicans have.
One hopes that McConnell has long since departed after the next election and that bi-partisan consideration of appointees can return to the Senate.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:10 AM
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So your response to the fact that Republicans voted in lockstep to oppose Obama appointees is to hope that that sort of nonsense continues into the far future. ...
I don't believe they did. For example, just taking Secretary of State:

Obama nominated Hillary Clinton. She was confirmed by the Senate 94-2.
Obama nominated John Kerry. He was confirmed by the Senate 94-3.

President Trump nominated Rex Tillerson. He was confirmed 56-43.
President Trump nominated Mike Pompeo. He was confirmed 57-42.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:20 AM
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President Trump nominated Rex Tillerson. He was confirmed 56-43.
Considering how he ended up being perhaps the worst Secretary of State ever, you should be questioning the 56.
Quote:
President Trump nominated Mike Pompeo. He was confirmed 57-42.
Considering he is probably the most nakedly partisan Secretary of State in many years, that seems about right. I'm happy to show quotes of Republicans who have said Clinton worked with them well, especially while she was in the Senate. Pompeo's sole occupation while serving in the House was to attack Democrats, often in stupid ways.

ETA: I would also ask you to explain why Trump appointee Mattis was confirmed 99-1, but Obama appointee Hagel was confirmed 58-41.

Last edited by Ravenman; 04-11-2019 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:22 AM
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That's nice, but has nothing to do with tomndebb's assertion that "Republicans voted in lockstep to oppose Obama appointees"
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:46 AM
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That's nice, but has nothing to do with tomndebb's assertion that "Republicans voted in lockstep to oppose Obama appointees"
Let me remind you of your own first post in this thread:
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Given that the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency. If the Republicans still control the Senate, that might mean a lot of vacancies.
Are you really engaging in this bullshit nitpicking of tomndebb's statement because he didn't include the word "virtual" in front of "lockstep?"
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:51 AM
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Let me remind you of your own first post in this thread:


Are you really engaging in this bullshit nitpicking of tomndebb's statement because he didn't include the word "virtual" in front of "lockstep?"
I certainly don't see it as "bullshit nitpicking". He claimed that "Republicans voted in lockstep to oppose Obama appointees". That's not true, as I demonstrated by citing the broad Republican support that Clinton and Kerry received. If he had included the word "virtual" in there, I wouldn't have changed my post much, except perhaps to include a few more examples of significant portions of the Republican caucus supporting additional Obama executive-branch appointees.

If you want to argue that the Dems were justified in their widespread opposition to President Trump's nominees, as tomndebb did in the second sentence of his post, you can certainly do that, but that's quite a different tack than tomndebb's approach in his first sentence of arguing that the Republicans did it first.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 04-11-2019 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:01 PM
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Would you say that Republican senators are actually open-minded about Democratic appointments, and cast their votes based on the merits of the nominee?
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:37 PM
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Would you say that Republican senators are actually open-minded about Democratic appointments, and cast their votes based on the merits of the nominee?
I suppose that's one plausible explanation. Personally, I suspect it is more closely related to a historical deference to the president to have his choice of cabinet personnel, which the Republicans seem to have adhered to more than the Dems. It's also possibly tied to a generally-more-acrimonious nature of our politics that seems to get worse with every passing year.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:08 PM
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I suppose that's one plausible explanation.
This must be an example of conservative humor -- statements intended for humorous effect that just aren't funny.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:57 PM
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Given that the Democrats have voted in virtual lockstep against many of President Trump's nominees, I hope to see the Republicans reciprocate the next time a Dem wins the presidency. If the Republicans still control the Senate, that might mean a lot of vacancies.
To be fair even republicans are not keen on Trump's nominees:

Quote:
In addition to confronting Trump on his purge at the Department of Homeland Security and his threat to deploy auto tariffs and keep existing levies, GOP senators hope they can persuade the president to avoid nominating Cuccinelli or Kris Kobach, another immigration hard-liner, to lead DHS. They also want Trump to drop plans to nominate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve and are considering whether to challenge Stephen Moore's nomination to the Fed.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to send the message before they send these people up here,” said a Republican senator who 20 seconds later lamented a separate problem: Trump’s “trade nightmare.”

SOURCE: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/...licans-1267012
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:33 PM
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That's nice, but has nothing to do with tomndebb's assertion that "Republicans voted in lockstep to oppose Obama appointees"
OK. The basic point still stands, even if I did accidentally delete "virtual." Trump has consistently appointed crooks, incompetents, and people with anti-science agendas. There seems to be no valid reason for anyone (especially Republicans) to vote to approve people who will destroy this country while feathering their own nests.
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:59 AM
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To be fair even republicans are not keen on Trump's nominees:
And now those meanie Republicans look like they aren't happy about a potential nominee to the Federal Reserve board, Herman Cain. Why are the R's so mean to Trump?
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