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WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding a federal appeals court decision announced yesterday that dealt a blow to Bush Administration efforts to undermine workers' rights in crafting a new personnel system for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):
"Yesterday's decision by a US Court of Appeals is a victory for both the 180,000 Department of Homeland Security employees and Federal employees generally.
"When Congress created DHS almost 4 years ago, it envisioned an agency that would have the resources and flexibility to respond quickly to crises to better protect the American people.
"But it is not necessary to undermine basic workplace rights enjoyed by the vast majority of American workers to achieve that vision. This ruling makes clear that the Bush Administration cannot roll back basic employee protections and rights that have served to make the Federal civil service a model for public sectors everywhere.
"I hope that this ruling will force the Bush Administration to begin working with federal employees, instead of against them, to ensure our government has the necessary flexibility to meet today's national security challenges while at the same time protecting basic worker rights. The two are not mutually exclusive goals."