DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Kurt Schrader
Sent By:
zach.stokes@mail.house.gov

Bill: H.R. 696
Date: 2/28/2017

COSPONSOR BIPARTISON LEGISLATION TO LIFT THE HIRING FREEZE ON THE DEPT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Current cosponsors: Walz, Perlmutter, O’Halleran, DeFazio, Walter Jones, John Lewis (GA), Roybal-Allard, Takano, Vargas, Courtney, Cicilline, Vela, Blumenauer, Lujan Grisham, Lynch, Delaney, Kilmer, Pingree, Sinema, Peterson, Bordallo, Stephanie
Murphy, David Scott, Kind, Maloney, Scott Peters, Luján, Titus, Bonamici, Schneider, Shea-Porter, DelBene, Sarbanes, Mike Thompson, Sanchez, Lipinski, Tim Ryan, Watson Coleman, McCullum, Gabbard, Ruppersberger, Evans, Tsongas, Correa, Pascrell, O’Rourke, Kennedy,
Napolitano, Gallego, Brownley, McGovern, Beatty, Garamendi, Soto, Keating, Dingell, Kathleen Rice, Torres, Schakowsky, Brian Higgins, Adams, Sanford Bishop, Slaughter, Sires, Raskin, Lowenthal, Katherine Clark, Bobby Scott, Khanna, Hastings, Clay, Jayapal,
Cárdenas, Al Green, Clay, Bustos, Rush, Carbajal, Lowey, Crist, Castro

Supported by: American Veterans (AMVETS), The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)

Dear Colleague,

We ask for your support for HR 696, this bipartisan bill we introduced exempts the Department of Veteran Affairs from any federal employment hiring freeze.

On Monday, January 23rd, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum instituting a hiring freeze throughout the federal government – including the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has made great strides in reforming the vital services they provide
to our veterans. The hiring freeze will drastically set back this progress. The VA hiring freeze will also devastate job opportunities for veterans who want to work at the VA serving other veterans. Veterans make up 33 percent of the VA’s nearly 366,000-person
workforce.

On the first day of the federal hiring freeze, USAJOBS had more than 2,200 VA job postings, including 1,400 jobs in mental health alone. Only one percent of these jobs are located in the Washington, DC metro area. The vast majority of VA jobs are located
outside DC in hospitals, clinics, benefit offices, vet centers, and homeless vet programs.

Without more doctors, nurses, therapists, and patient schedulers, veterans will wait longer for care. Without more claims processors, the already staggering claims backlog will get bigger and veterans wait longer for disability benefits to feed their families,
vocational rehabilitation services to help them return to work, and education benefits to go back to school. Without more staff for VA programs targeting veteran homelessness, more veterans will stay on the streets and get sicker as they wait longer for medical
care, mental health services, and substance abuse treatment.

We appreciate the acting Secretary’s actions to exempt key staff but it still disregards the hundreds of positions required to smoothly carry out the VA’s mission. The hiring freeze will have a severe and lasting impact on the VA’s ability to care for our
nation’s veterans, and all of the progress the VA has made on reducing wait times will come to a halt. Our veterans deserve nothing but the best care.

For more information or to become a cosponsor of HR 696, please contact Zach Stokes in Rep. Schrader’s office at x55711 or zach.stokes@mail.house.gov or Kenji Igawa in Rep. Moulton’s office at x58020 or
kenji.igawa@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

KURT SCHRADER                                                              SETH MOULTON
Member of Congress                                                               Member of Congress