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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A series of executive orders, signed by President Trump on Friday, will make it easier to lay off federal government employees and "[roll] back the prerogatives of unions that represent them," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Per the Times, the signings were praised by the White House as Trump promoting "efficient government by reforming our Civil Service rules." But the unions criticized it as an "assault on democracy."

What they do, per BuzzFeed News:

  • Cut down on the time it takes to fire a federal employee.
  • "Reward 'performance over seniority.'"
  • Require federal employees to "devote at least 75 percent of their work hours for agency purposes."
  • Tell agencies to renegotiate union contracts and publish them.

Go deeper

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.