Friday morning, following the midnight news that President Donald Trump, the First Lady, and others have contracted the novel Coronavirus, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tweeted that he, too, has tested positive.
“Yesterday morning, I was experiencing symptoms consistent with longtime allergies,” the senior senator for Utah tweeted. “Out of an abundance of caution, I sought medical advice and was tested for Covid-19. Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday’s test came back positive. On advice of the Senate attending physician, I will remain isolated for the next 10 days.”
With the presidential election 32 days away, and the pressure on Senate Republicans to appoint President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the election, Lee says he hopes to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible.
“Like so many other Utahns, I will now spend part of 2020 working from home,” he writes. “I have spoken with Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham, and assured them I will be back to work in time to join my Judiciary Committee colleagues in advancing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Committee and then to the full Senate.”
Following the news late on Thursday that Hope Hicks, a member of Trump’s team, had tested positive for the Coronavirus, the President and his wife Melania began to quarantine in the White House. A few hours later, both tested positive for the virus, sending the White House.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger for the presidency, and his wife Dr. Jill Biden have tested negative for the virus after being in close proximity on the debate stage Tuesday night. They have sent their thoughts to Mr. and Mrs. Trump, wishing them a “swift recovery.”
The full scope of who in Washington, DC has contracted the virus will likely not be known for a few days as the officials await their test results.
This is a developing story.
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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