Legislation has been introduced in the House to exempt veterans from the hiring freeze as set forth by Donald Trump’s executive order.
The legislation, known as the Veterans Federal Hiring Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 1001), was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). It dictates that notwithstanding President Trump’s memorandum or any similar executive actions, federal agencies may continue to fill vacant federal civilian jobs and create new positions for veterans and veterans preference-eligible individuals.
Lynch said that because veterans make up more than 30% of the federal workforce, they are disproportionately affected by the hiring freeze and that it’s unfair to subject them to the hiring freeze because of their service to the country.
He explained in a statement:
Our dedicated service men and women fought to protect our freedoms and defend our homeland. We are grateful for their service and thankful when veterans return home and choose to continue their public service by entering the federal workforce. President Trump’s federal hiring freeze not only hurts everyday Americans seeking a prompt response from a federal agency, but also makes it difficult for veterans looking for employment in the federal government across the country. Veterans have earned their hiring preference and I am deeply concerned that the federal hiring freeze will disproportionately hurt America’s veterans.
Lynch also noted that hiring of veterans has been increasing. According to data from OPM, in FY 2015, federal agencies hired approximately 6,000 more veterans over the previous year for a total of 71,000 new veteran hires, and of those, 31,616 were disabled veterans.
Lynch also co-sponsored legislation introduced last month (H.R. 696) that would exempt the VA from the hiring freeze.
The VA recently issued a memo which announced positions within the agency that are exempt from the hiring freeze. For details, see VA Announces Exemptions from Hiring Freeze.