Smith: Trump hiring freeze hurts military maintainers around the country
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s federal hiring freeze is “striking at the heart” of the military’s ability to maintain its equipment, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said Tuesday.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said hundreds of Defense Department civilian maintainers who have been hired for renewable terms at facilities around the country to work on aircraft, ships and ground combat vehicles now face layoffs under the freeze, which was ordered by Trump last week.
The loss of manpower from Trump’s order will hit the military’s maintenance and readiness just as the president embarks on an effort to rebuild the armed forces, Smith said. Overall, the order could affect thousands of DOD civilians hired to do maintenance work for limited terms.
“This boneheaded, ideological attack on the functioning of our government is having real consequences,” he said.
The Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, was working Tuesday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine whether the department would allow exemptions for hiring those positions, a spokesman told Stars and Stripes.
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