Jun 19, 2019

Administration to issue layoffs, furloughs if Congress doesn't close OPM

According to an internal briefing obtained by the Washington Post, the Trump administration intends to furlough and possibly lay off 150 employees from the Office of Personnel Management on Oct. 1 if Congress refuses to axe the department entirely.

The backdrop: Administration officials characterize OPM as financially distressed, demanding a Congressional commitment to dissolve the agency by June 30 — or else face staff cuts.

The big picture: The administration argued in its original proposal to dismantle the department that it did not plan to lay off any of the 5,565 employees; but instead to reallocate them to three different departments and shrink through retirements and unfilled vacancies. The agency manages the civilian federal workforce, with responsibilities including background checks for government job applicants and human resource responsibilities like payroll and training.

  • Members of both parties in Congress have signaled they do not intend to dismantle the agency, the Post wrote.

But, but, but: “A report by a federal watchdog this week concluded that killing the agency would hinder, not ease, the long-standing retirement claims backlog,” per the Post.

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Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been forced to wait out their U.S. immigration court cases across the border in Mexico under the policy. The Trump administration has long credited this program for the decline in border crossings following record highs last summer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: WHO raises global threat level to "very high"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" Friday, its highest risk level as countries struggle to contain it. Meanwhile, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow this morning tried to reassure the markets, which continued to correct amid growing fears of a U.S. recession.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected about 83,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.