«Wiping out the federal personnel agency could be Exhibit A as Trump’s reelection campaign assembles a list of victories to take to voters, from deregulation and tax cuts to trade tariffs.
The mandate to manage a merit-based civil service goes back to the 1883 Pendleton Act, a law designed to end the “spoils system” of rewarding political supporters with government jobs. Federal appointments had to be based on skills and qualifications.
Congress created OPM out of the Civil Service Commission in 1978, the last time lawmakers voted to establish hiring, employment and management practices for the federal workforce.
Today the agency is widely viewed as slow and ineffective, though, with a long-lingering backlog of background investigations and risk-averse leadership that has failed to respond to calls for faster hiring and recruiting for a changing workforce.
Breaking up OPM is not a Republican idea, though. The Obama administration discussed internally whether to do it, and so did Hillary Clinton’s team in 2016, civil service experts said. And the agency drew bipartisan fury in 2015 when U.S. officials alleged Chinese hackers stole millions of personnel records by hacking through the agency’s weak security system.»