On Jan. 23, in accordance with his promises to shrink the size of the government through attrition, President Trump announced a federal hiring freeze. And now this across-the-board halt to all new and existing government jobs, exempting only national security, public safety and the military – may have a negative impact on Veterans.
Unless of course military members go to work for the Veterans Affairs Department. As recently as 2015, some VA hospitals were facing staffing shortages that left as many as half of the critical positions open. Currently, 4,308 jobs are listed as open at the VA. More than 1,100 of those listings are for physicians; 1,185 are for nurses at various levels — from licensed practical nurses to nurse practitioners. Another 284 are for positions that have direct contact with veterans to help them access benefits. Shrink that number of employees any further, and the two-year backlog may return, or at least that’s what some journalists and experts are concerned about.
And vets won’t just lose out on VA services because of the hiring freeze; they’ll also lose out on jobs. About one-third of civilian federal employees are vets, thanks in part to the preference given to qualified vets in government hiring, and out-of-work vets will be hit particularly hard by this measure.
The VA isn’t the only agency that will be hit by this freeze. Many agencies will be affected. It remains to be seen how well this freeze will pan out, and there are certainly hopes that the powers that be know what they’re doing and have an effective plan to follow.