Hageman Wants Term Limits For Federal Employees

U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman wants to limit how long rank-and-file employees can work for the federal government, in essence term-limiting them like elected officials are.

Leo Wolfson

September 25, 20236 min read

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U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman believes politicians are term limited by their elections, but rank-and-file federal employees are a different beast.

“If you want to change what’s going on in Washington, D.C., limit the power of the bureaucracy. That’s the key,” she said on conservative strategist Tim Murtaugh’s Line Drive podcast last week. 

That’s why Hageman said she’s planning to propose legislation that would essentially “term-limit” federal employees. The legislation wouldn’t cap the amount of time people could work for the government overall, but would place limits on how long they could work for a particular agency. 

Hageman said she and other lawmakers working on the bill haven’t figured out how long the limits would be, but that she believes it’s constitutional as Congress has the power to hire and fire federal employees.

‘Deep State’

Murtaugh, a consultant to Hageman’s campaign who was questioned by the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, said long-serving government officials give the perception of a “deep state” working within the government.

He explained that high-ranking or experienced federal government officials can thwart a president’s policy goals by perpetually delaying or purposely weakening their policy initiatives.

“When people talk about the deep state, when (former) President (Donald) Trump talked about the deep state, that’s what it meant to me,” he said, and Hageman agreed.

Hageman said many of the lawsuits she filed as a private attorney were against the federal government for what she saw as “agency abuse.” Through rulemaking and regulatory reviews, she believes members of these federal agencies can make laws on their own volition. Fighting these efforts is her biggest passion, Hageman said, as these are people who can’t be voted out of office.

“That’s where Congress needs to step up and reclaim its rightful authority to legislate and start limiting the power of these administrative agencies,” she said. 

When there’s a Democratic president, Hageman said many federal employees actively try to carry out a Democratic agenda. When a Republican takes the Oval Office, they become more obstructionist. 

During Trump’s presidency, Hageman said there were certain federal officials who blatantly refused to carry out his policies.

“They were very honest about it during President Trump’s tenure,” she said of their open defiance. 

Why Not Politicians?

Hageman mentioned how certain federal employees have worked for the government for as long as 25-30 years. For a new member of Congress, this can be rather difficult to “compete with,” she said, especially if they have term limits themselves. 

Hageman said term limiting elected officials would actually increase the power of “bureaucrats” in the executive branch.

She also believes limiting how long an elected official could serve would require a constitutional amendment and that the legislative branch is designed as the strongest branch of government because it is directly elected by the voters. 

“We’re the ones who are most accountable, we’re the ones who should be most responsive,” Hageman said. “I have to run for office every two years.”

Hageman said the government isn’t designed to be the enemy of the people. But because of the policies enacted by President Joe Biden’s administration, she believes the government is actively hurting Americans.

“We need to change that and there are a lot of people who want to,” she said.

Other Topics

Hageman also talked about U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, of which she is a member. 

She wonders how much American foreign policy is dictated by Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s embattled son, mentioning the Chinese spy balloon that traveled across the United States and Wyoming earlier this year and the ongoing American funding of the war in Ukraine.

“There’s just so many things that are happening right now and all of it kind of leads back to Hunter Biden and the activities that he’s taken over the last 20 years,” she said.

Although a significant amount of time has been spent investigating whether Biden was involved in his son’s foreign business affairs during his time as vice-president, no direct evidence has surfaced. Hageman said the large amount of circumstantial evidence will start piling up as the inquiry into President Biden’s impeachment continues.

“The American public knows that something’s up,” she said. “They know that we have a doddering fool in the White House who is suffering from pretty severe dementia.”

One new revelation Hageman mentioned was that Joe Biden used email accounts under fake aliases while vice president and discussed topics like Ukraine in emails with his son. A senior White House official told Time Magazine in August that Biden was following a common practice among senior government officials hoping to thwart hackers, as well as preventing spammers from guessing his address.

Hageman said the president shouldn’t have been talking to his son about these issues at all as his son had no prior experience in Ukraine or oil and gas.

“The circumstantial evidence, in my opinion, is quite overwhelming,” she said.

As far as the ongoing crunch to prevent a government shutdown by passing a federal budget bill, Hageman said she will only support legislation that commits to tightening border security. She’s pessimistic there will be a significant shutdown.

“It’s going to be up to the Senate and the Biden White House whether they want to fund the government or they want an open border, they can choose,” she said.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter