The administration of President Joe Biden has announced a three-pronged initiative in order to assess and combat “domestic violent extremism” (DVE) over two weeks after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by extremists that resulted in 5 deaths.
At a Friday press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki unveiled the initiative, describing the first steps the administration is taking to counter DVE.
Psaki said that the deadly January 6 Capitol riot and the destruction it caused has revealed that the “rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat.”
The Biden administration “is committed to developing policies and strategies based on facts, on objective and rigorous analysis, and on our respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities,” she added.
The first of the three broad areas the initial work on DVE will fall under is a tasking that Psaki said Biden sent earlier on Friday to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “requesting a comprehensive threat assessment coordinated with the FBI and [Department of Homeland Security]” on DVE.
“This assessment,” Psaki continued, “will draw on the analysis from across the government and, as appropriate, nongovernmental organizations.”
She went on to explain that the administration wants “fact-based analysis” in order to help “shape policy.”
The second area will be “the building of an [National Security Council (NSC)] capability to focus on countering” DVE, Psaki said. “As a part of this, the NSC will undertake a policy review effort to determine how the government can share information better about this threat, support efforts to prevent radicalization, disrupt violent extremist networks, and more.”
While she said that there’s already important work already happening in combatting DVE, the press secretary emphasized that the government needs to “understand better [DVE’s] current extent and where there may be gaps to address, so that we can determine the best path forward.”
Lastly, the third area will be “coordinating relevant parts of the federal government to enhance and accelerate efforts to address DVE,” Psaki stated.
Furthermore, the NSC will help “focus on addressing evolving threats, radicalization, the role of social media; opportunities to improve information sharing, operational responses, and more,” she added.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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