In response to President Trump’s misguided freeze on hiring for federal jobs, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) introduced H.R. 1001, the Veterans Federal Hiring Protection Act of 2017. With veterans making up more than 30% of the federal workforce and new hires at the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and other agencies nationwide, America’s returning service men and women will be disproportionately affected by the President’s action. Congressman Lynch’s legislation would exempt America’s veterans from the hiring freeze and ensure that the federal government will not close its doors to veterans when it comes to employment. H.R. 1001 has been endorsed by the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans and is cosponsored by 21 Members of Congress.

“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,” said Congressman Lynch.

According to the most recent report issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on “Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch,” the approximately 632,000 veterans working throughout the federal government currently represent 30.9% of the entire federal workforce. OPM also reports that veterans’ employment in the federal government is on the rise.  In Fiscal Year 2015, federal agencies hired approximately 6,000 more veterans over the previous year for a total of 71,000 new veteran hires and a veteran new hire percentage rate of 32.5%. According to OPM, 31,616 of veteran new hires for Fiscal Year 2015 were disabled veterans, including 21,215 veterans with a disability rating of 30% or more.

In particular, H.R. 1001, the Veterans Federal Hiring Protection Act of 2017, provides 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 as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 2108 (3).   

H.R. 1001 is cosponsored by Reps. Kurt Schrader, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ted W. Lieu, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Tim Ryan, Juan Vargas, Sheila Jackson Lee, Earl Blumenauer, Jacky Rosen, Chellie Pingree, Tony Cárdenas, Carolyn B. Maloney, David Cicilline, Tom O’Halleran, Gregory W. Meeks, Judy Chu, Alma S. Adams, Alcee L. Hastings, Tulsi Gabbard, and Suzanne Bonamici, and Carol Shea-Porter.

Last month, Congressman Lynch led a letter to President-elect Trump in opposition to his federal hiring freeze proposal. Congressman Lynch, along with 106 of his House colleagues, raised strong concerns that a government-wide hiring freeze would decrease transparency, efficiency, and accountability in the federal government.

Congressman Lynch is also a cosponsor of H.R. 696, legislation introduced by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) to exempt the Department of Veteran Affairs from the federal hiring freeze.