- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

President Trump is lifting his governmentwide hiring freeze Wednesday, allowing certain federal agencies to fill positions consistent with his proposed budget.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney issued guidance to all federal departments allowing them to resume hiring as part of a restructuring of the entire government that the administration hopes to be in place by the 2019 fiscal year.

“The government hiring freeze will end with the release of this guidance,” Mr. Mulvaney told reporters Tuesday. “That does not mean that the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly. Certain agencies will end up hiring more people.”

Mr. Trump ordered a federal hiring freeze on Jan. 23, saying he needed to halt the growth of the federal government. President Obama left office with more than 1.4 million federal employees in civilian agencies, a jump of about 10 percent from the time he took office in 2009 but less than the 17 percent hike under President George W. Bush.

Mr. Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018, which begins Oct. 1, envisions spending roughly the same $1.1 trillion on discretionary programs as the current budget. But he calls for raising defense spending and cutting a corresponding amount from other non-defense agencies.

The president’s proposed budget calls for deep cuts in places such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, where thousands of jobs could be eliminated. In other departments, such as Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, more hiring is expected.

Under the reform plan, federal agencies are to submit their ideas for restructuring to OMB by September. The White House also is starting to solicit ideas from Congress, with Mr. Mulvaney citing the example of consolidating some of the government’s more than 40 job training programs in 13 agencies.

“This is something we hope will unite Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “Everybody dislikes bad government.”

Other presidents, including Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, have tried similar approaches but largely failed to revise the government’s makeup.

Asked why Mr. Trump’s plan will succeed, Mr. Mulvaney replied, “This is really important to the president. This is a big part of draining the swamp. What you’re talking about doing is restructuring Washington, D.C. This is a centerpiece of his campaign.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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