WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - As one of his first acts in office, President Donald Trump announced a nationwide federal hiring freeze. The Veterans Administration has thousands of open position across the country that, for the most part, will continue to go unfilled until the freeze is over.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Rob Snyder said in a statement,"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone it deems necessary for public health and safety, including frontline caregivers." The administration lists a handful of positions that are exempt on their website.
Still, Congressman Ron Kind, along with 70 House democrats, are not satisfied with the department's statement.
"We gotta have their back at home as we did in war zones," Kind says. He wants the entire Veterans Administration to be exempt from the freeze and has cosponsored a bill with his colleagues to do so. "A hard hiring freeze could detrimentally impact the care our veterans need," he added.
Kind has been critical of the administration's decision, saying "This seemed to me less leadership and more laziness and not thinking through the concepts of what it's going to take to make sure we're living up to our promise to help veterans."
Congressman Jack Bergman, a member of the veterans affairs committee, says he's not concerned the freeze will have a negative impact, saying "There is a natural turnover within the system."
The Republican is responsible for oversight on the committee and says he is going to assess many of the thousands of open positions. He says he doesn't necessarily think each position may be necessary to keep.
"Just because there's tens of thousands of jobs open doesn't mean they're the right jobs going forward," he said. "For example, how many filing clerks do you think we need in any business when we do our filing digitally?"