U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New México urged President Trump to reverse his executive order that freezes all federal hiring, to ensure that fundamental government services are not negatively impacted and hard-working, well-qualified New Mexicans, many of whom are veterans, do not lose out on employment opportunities.
In a letter to the president the lawmakers wrote, “We share the goal of increasing the efficiency of federal resources and delivering the best public services possible. However, experience from previous federal hiring freezes tells us that they are counter-productive, increase costs, and only serve to further privatize government jobs. When Presidents Carter and Reagan pursued similar policies, it led to higher government costs and ineffective management as reported by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office.” They also noted that the federal workforce has been flat for decades, and as a percent of the overall workforce, federal employment has declined sharply since 1970 while providing more services and increasing productivity.
In New México, we are already hearing from constituents telling us how this order is having a detrimental effect on hiring for key positions.
The lawmakers highlighted the chaos and uncertainty that the freeze is causing in New México as key services are being disrupted due to agencies’ inability to fill essential positions and thousands of people who hoped to join the federal workforce are no longer able to apply for civilian jobs. Veterans transitioning to civil service make up a third of the federal workforce and would normally receive a hiring preference but cannot apply to these federal positions while they are subject to the hiring freeze.
“In New México, we are already hearing from constituents telling us how this order is having a detrimental effect on hiring for key positions, many of which are related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. A hiring freeze disrupts recruitment of highly-qualified STEM graduates from our universities, in turn jeopardizing our nation’s security and competitiveness. These positions include recruitment for educators on tribal lands, protection of our borders, monitoring the safety of our food supply, managing public lands and mineral leasing, and fulfilling our promise to our veterans,” the lawmakers wrote.
According to the letter, 300 jobs are currently at risk in New México, 125 of which are civilian positions that support the military, and at least 32 are jobs with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The lawmakers raised concerns about what these empty positions will mean for the future of the military bases in New México and the services available to the state’s veterans.
“These lost jobs will impact federal employees not just in Washington but across all 50 states. The effect will especially be felt in New México, where our three Air Force bases, major Department of Energy facilities, Army Missile Range, and federal land management agencies are significant contributors to their local economies and communities,” the lawmakers said. “We find this policy to be ill-conceived and deserving of further consideration.”