A new House bill would “exempt certain veterans and other individuals” from the federal hiring freeze ordered by President Donald Trump on Jan. 23. “President Trump’s federal hiring freeze makes it difficult for veterans looking for employment in the federal government across the country,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), the sponsor of the bill, in a press release. There are more than 600,000 veterans currently in federal jobs, making up more than 30 percent of the entire federal workforce, according to the release. “Veterans have earned their hiring preference,” Lynch said, “and I am deeply concerned that the federal hiring freeze will disproportionately hurt America’s veterans.” The executive order has already affected Air Force hiring, though the Pentagon has issued a long list of jobs exempt from the freeze, including those at the Air Force’s three depots.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.