Trump replaces federal hiring freeze with 'surgical' cuts

One of Donald Trump's first acts as president was to freeze federal hiring, but he has chose to lift that directive in favor of a refined plan to try to resize the government to meet his agenda and campaign pledges. Others, whose budgets would be cut such as the Environmental Protection Agency, likely would not be able to staff up.

The Trump administration is expected to lift its federal hiring freeze on Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Nick Mulvaney announced.

The broader suggestion to structure around functions and issues came from a meeting of CEOs at the White House on Tuesday morning; Mulvaney said the administration is seeking input from business leaders, academics, and civilians alike. "And that is what I think the President talks about when he talks about draining the swamp", said Mulvaney. "Really what you're talking about doing is restructuring Washington, D.C., and that is how you drain the swamp, so this is a centerpiece of his campaign and a centerpiece of his administration". "‶This is a centerpiece to his campaign".

Said Mulvaney,"There are going to be some places where they have the ability to reduce size immediately and they may be called upon to do that in order to line up with the President's priorities".

Mulvaney revealed that the administration will replace on Wednesday the hiring freeze with a smarter and "more surgical plan".

Based on Trump's spending plan, some agencies would see cuts of more than 20 percent - and the State Department and EPA, 30 percent - in hits that would fundamentally alter their missions.

Trump has frequently talked about slashing regulations and government spending since taking office, although his personal spending on presidential travel, including to his Florida estate of Mar-a-Lago, has raised eyebrows.


Mulvaney stood before piles of Federal Register documents that he said were lists of regulations from the last two years alone.

Mulvaney also said the administration is asking agencies, along with members of the public, to submit suggestions for how to rebuild the executive branch "from scratch".

"It's fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole", he responded.

Getting government growth under control has been the goal of many past presidents, though few have actually accomplished that objective.

Mulvaney made the point clear on Tuesday: "The government hiring freeze will end with the release of this guidance".

Independent regulators such as the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission fall under the executive branch, so some of their functions could be in play, though they are not subject to executive orders. In recent years (such as 2009-2014) it has continued to decrease, at a slower rate, from 2.77 million in 2009 to 2.66 million in 2014.

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