Following pressure from U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and her colleagues, the Trump Administration reversed course and exempted many VA jobs from the federal hiring freeze. McCaskill called the move a good step, but said it doesn’t go far enough.
“…It’s nowhere near enough to ensure the VA is fully equipped to provide our veterans the high-quality care, speedy claims resolution, and treatment access in rural areas that they need and deserve,” said the Missouri Democrat. “This policy would have had serious consequences for those who have courageously served our country, and I’ll never stop fighting to ensure we’re fulfilling our promises to them.”
McCaskill says veterans make up 31 percent of the federal workforce, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has reported it currently has more than 45,000 vacancies. There are currently more than 450,000 veterans awaiting VA benefits they earned while serving the country.
Last week, after President Donald Trump issued an executive order freezing hiring across the federal government, McCaskill and her colleagues demanded the Administration exempt the VA and all veterans seeking federal jobs from a freeze that would have serious consequences for veterans and their families.
McCaskill has helped lead efforts to address medical workforce shortages at the VA. After repeated urging from McCaskill, the VA last year announced the installation of a permanent medical director at the St. Louis VA—a position which had been vacant for years, after the VA failed six times to secure a permanent director.