A shift long sought by conservatives that could eventually bring the workforce down to levels not seen in decades.
By the end of September, all Cabinet agencies except Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Interior had fewer permanent staff than when Trump took office in January — with most shedding many hundreds of employees, according to an analysis of federal personnel data by The Washington Post.
The diminishing federal footprint comes after Trump promised in last year’s campaign to “cut so much your head will spin,” and it reverses a boost in hiring during the Obama era. The falloff has been driven by an exodus of civil servants, a diminished corps of political appointees and an effective hiring freeze.
Even though Congress did not pass a new budget in his first year, the drastic spending cuts Trump laid out in the spring — which would slash more than 30 percent of funding at some agencies — also has trigged a spending slowdown, according to officials at multiple departments.
The White House is now warning agencies to brace for even deeper cuts in the 2019 budget it will announce early next year, part of an effort to lower the federal deficit to pay for the new tax law, according to officials briefed on the budgets for their agencies.
IT IS WORST FOR : Bureau of Prisons, which lost 2,320 permanent workers !
The last time federal employment dropped during a president’s first year, Bill Clinton was in the White House. The relatively small net decrease under Trump so far masks what has been a substantial drop-off in staffing at certain agencies. One of the biggest reductions has been at the Bureau of Prisons, which lost 2,320 permanent workers at a time when the Justice Department plans to return to using private prisons to house some federal inmates.
The president still has no science adviser. And the Office of Management and Budget is waiting for the Senate to confirm its nominees for deputy director and chief of financial management — vital positions tasked with restructuring the government.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), an advocate for modernizing federal technology systems, said eight of 24 agencies are without chief information officers.
“We’re losing momentum in the fight against cyberattacks,” he said.
Federal contractors, including defense giant General Dynamics, have complained in earnings calls that leadership vacancies have slowed contract awards and delayed getting money authorized and appropriated.
“It’s very important to have senior leaders in place to make those long-term commitments,” said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president of the Professional Services Council, a trade group that represents federal contractors.
Trump already has begun to reverse the growth of the Obama era, when the government added a total of 188,000 permanent employees, according to Office of Personnel Management data.
By the end of September, the federal government had 1.94 million permanent workers, down nearly 16,000 overall since the beginning of the year, according to the most recent OPM data. In the first nine months of 2009, Obama’s first year in office, the government added 68,000 permanent employees, growing to 1.84 million.
The shrinking federal workforce could end up undercutting some of Trump’s priorities. Employment within the Defense Department, which Trump has promised to beef up, dropped by 1 percent, or minus 7,811 civilian workers across all branches of the military.
And the Internal Revenue Service, which is charged with the complex task of implementing Trump’s tax overhaul plan, lost 6,801 permanent staffers in the first nine months of this year, a drop of nearly 9 percent, personnel data shows.
How can YOU take over a State, Mr. Trump - and then fire those who work for it ?
/ Uncle Big Bang.