Bill to overturn Trump ordinance on ALJs, more moves forward

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The House Oversight and Reform Committee passed HR-4448, to overturn an executive order by the Trump administration creating an excepted service category for administrative law judges that removed many job protections for ALJs and gave agencies more leeway in hiring for these positions.

Prior to this July 2018 ordinance, ALJs were hired under a central system in which the OPM organized competitions and the agencies selected candidates from a list of those OPMs deemed qualified. The ordinance created the except Schedule E hiring authority under which individual agencies are responsible for the entire hiring process, subject only to reduced qualification requirements. This applied to those newly hired after the order was issued; those who were hired previously remained in the competitive service unless they changed positions.

The bill would place all ALJs in competitive service while setting qualification requirements, including one for seven years of applicable experience.

The committee also approved: HR-1508, to require agencies to make it clear when directives they issue do not have the force and effect of law; HR-2994, to limit the use of acting public servants in positions that require Senate confirmation; HR-3533, to establish professional series for federal positions in software development, software engineering, data science and data management; and HR-4125, to exempt IG agency offices from partial government shutdowns caused by funding deadlines.

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