The government changes their rules and makes new ones all the time. It’s part of a growing and shifting government, which makes choices based on history and the current needs of both the administration and the American people. Some of the decisions are not the most widely popular, and some are hailed as important decisions to protect the integrity of America. 

A Rule Issued By Personnel Management

The Biden administration recently implemented a rule that falls into the category of controversial. The rule was issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and is designed to prevent career bureaucrats from being involuntarily shifted into employment categories exempt from civil service protections.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

This might seem like a silly, or rather unnecessary rule. However, this rule is in response to some fairly alarming political rhetoric that has recently come out of the far-right, pro-Trump camp of Republicans, which has prompted the administration to act. 

A Trump Executive Order

During his presidency, Trump issued an executive order that created a new category of employee, “Schedule F.” This was a category that was made specifically for policy-making employees, and it made it easier to fire them for perceived disloyalty to the president and his political agenda.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of the President of the United States

Biden repealed this executive order when he took office, stating that it wasn’t the job of federal employees to have whole, undying loyalty to the current president. Federal employees are allowed to have their own political opinions, and should be able to have them without fear of losing their job over who is currently occupying the Oval Office. 

An Intention to Reinstate Schedule F

Despite this reversal of his order, Trump and his political allies have made clear their intentions to reinstate Schedule F if he is elected to a second term in office. While that would be concerning enough on its own, Trump has also said that he will blatantly use the rule to remove lifetime bureaucrats opposed to Trump’s presidency.

Source: Wikimedia/Tia Dufour; Official White House Photo

This is all in pursuit of a plan that has been created by The Heritage Foundation, a far-right conservative group which has had significant influence over American policy making since its inception in the late 1970’s. 

About Project 2025

The most recent project with the Heritage Foundation’s influence is called Project 2025. Project 2025 is a collection of policy proposals that are intended to reshape the executive branch of the federal government, should Donald Trump win the presidential election this coming November.

Source: Wikimedia/Sean Spicer

The project was first established in 2022 after the midterm elections that Republicans lost impressively. It seeks to recruit tens of thousands of conservatives to Washington D.C. to replace existing federal civil service workers, which Republicans have characterized as the  “deep state.”

Wiping Out the “Deep State”

The deep state, simply put, is a type of government which is made up of potentially secret and unauthorized networks of power. These networks operate independently of a state’s political leadership, and work in pursuit of their own agendas and goals.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump used the term “deep state” during his presidency to refer to the “permanent government” of career bureaucrats or civil servants, all of whom act in accordance with the mandates of their agencies and congressional statutes. These behaviors and loyalties were seen in conflict with his administration, leading to the desire to overturn them. 

Widely Associated with Donald Trump

Project 2025 doesn’t promote any one specific Republican candidate, but it has widely been associated with a potential Trump win. The plan would perform a swift restructuring of the executive branch, working under a maximalist interpretation of the unitary executive theory.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

The unitary executive theory is a theory of constitutional law that states that the President of the United States possesses the power to control the entire federal executive branch. This is a theory that has been held sound by constitutional scholars, but not necessarily by public scientists or actual public administrators whose job it is to carry laws through. 

Widespread Changes Planned

Project 2025 envisions widespread changes across the entire government, especially in regards to economic and social policy, as well as the role of the federal government and federal agencies. Among other things, the plan proposes slashing Department of Justice (DOJ) funding, dismantling the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and eliminating the cabinet departments of Education and Commerce.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Additionally, a report from November of 2023 stated that Project 2025 would immediately invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, in order to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement. It would also ask the Department of Justice to pursue Trump adversaries, and detain them for future consideration. 

A Terrifying Proposition 

The plan is widespread, and detailed regarding the plans for the federal government, should Trump win another term. While Donald Trump made no secret of his disdain for anyone who he perceived as “disloyal” during his first term as president, the terms outlined in Project 2025 take his feelings to the next level.

Source: Wikimedia/

The reactions to the released details have been overwhelmingly negative, even on the part of some moderate Republicans. Some have described the plan as authoritarian, and described it as a blatant attempt from Trump and his allies for Trump to install himself as a dictator, should he make it back to the Oval Office. 

A Rule Meant to Prevent Project 2025

The plan, according to officials at the Heritage Foundation, starts with firing all current civil servants and career bureaucrats, leading to the choice made by the Biden administration and the OPM.

Source: Wikimedia/Kuhlmann/ MSC

While this rule doesn’t state that career bureaucrats and other employees of this type cannot be fired from the position at all, it is designed to ensure that they can’t be involuntarily shifted into different employment categories that are exempt from civil service protections. 

Protecting Millions of Civil Servants

“This final rule  honors our 2.2 million career civil servants, helping ensure that people are hired and fired based on merit and that they can carry out their duties based on their expertise and not political loyalty, ” said OPM director, Kiran Ahuja.

Source: Wikimedia/Liam Enea

The OPM rule clarifies that the policy-making designation for executive branch employees only applies to political appointees and not career bureaucrats. Trump’s executive order used the policy-making designation to determine the positions exempt from employment protections, and this new rule is meant to prevent further radical interpretation of employment protections. 

Government Employees Donate, Overwhelming, to Democrats

Under the new guidelines, civil employees are allowed to waive their own employment protections voluntarily, but they cannot be removed against their will.

Source: Medium

This protects career bureaucrats in more ways than one. During the 2020 election cycle, U.S. government employees donated overwhelmingly to Democrats and liberal groups. The support for Democrats from career bureaucrats continued in the 2022 midterm election cycle, and seems to be taking shape again in 2024. 

Protecting Expressions of Free Speech

The new rule is meant to protect employees from being punished not only for doing the job and remaining loyal to their agency rather than the administration, but also to protect them from being penalized for how they spend their money politically.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

The Supreme Court ruled, in Citizens United v. FEC, that political contributions are legally the same as free speech expression. Penalizing government employees for supporting Democrats, both verbally and financially, by taking their jobs away would be a horrific violation of the First Amendment for those employees. 

Republicans Bellyaching

Republicans have come out publicly against this new rule change, to nobody’s surprise. “OPM’s final rule is yet another example of the Biden Administration’s efforts to insulate the federal workforce from accountability. The federal workforce exists to serve the American people, yet many Americans have a deep and growing distrust of the federal bureaucracy,” said James Comer (R-KY) in a statement.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

Regardless of conservative opinion, the rule seems to be well-intended. A government that operates independently of the sole desires of the president can only be a good thing for America, and this rule ensures clear separation. Should Trump, or any other future president, try to take more power than they’re constitutionally granted in the future, rules like the new OPM mandate will help ensure that power grab is limited.