WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) led 23 House Democrats on a letter to President Donald Trump calling for an exemption for veterans from the President’s government-wide hiring freeze. With veterans representing 30% of our federal workforce and new hires at federal agencies nationwide, returning service men and women are disproportionately affected by the President’s executive action. The federal hiring freeze has indefinitely halted the progress made in ensuring that those who have served in defense of our nation receive opportunities to transition to civilian life that are commensurate with their sacrifice. In addition to calling for executive action to exempt America’s veterans, Congressman Lynch introduced legislation last month, H.R. 1001, the Veterans Federal Hiring Protection Act, which would exempt America’s veterans from the federal hiring freeze and allow federal agencies to continue to hire returning service men and women.

“Congress and the federal government must work together to improve the quality of care and employment opportunities for the men and women who dutifully served our country. A hiring freeze does the opposite by closing the doors of the federal government, our nation’s largest single employer of veterans, to our returning service members,” said Congressman Lynch. “President Trump’s misguided executive action is freezing out our dedicated veterans from entering the federal workforce. We are calling on President Trump to exempt veterans from the hiring freeze and live up to his promise that “veterans have delivered for this nation, and now we must deliver for them.’”

In particular, Congressman Lynch’s letter notes “America’s veterans currently represent 30.9% of our federal workforce nationwide, or approximately 623,755 out of 2,016,325 employees…Veterans’ employment in the Federal Government has also risen considerably in recent years. While federal agencies reported 65,030 veteran new hires and a veteran new hire percentage of 28.3% in Fiscal Year 2011, they recently reported 71,867 veteran new hires and an increased veteran new hire percentage of 32.5%.” With a rising unemployment rate among the newest generation of veterans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is imperative that the federal government is working to increase job opportunities for our nation’s veterans.

The letter is signed by Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Bill Keating (D-MA), David Scott (D-GA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-GA), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Peter Welch (D-VT), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY).

The text of the letter is available here.

The text of H.R. 1001, the Veterans Federal Hiring Protection Act is available here