WASHINGTON – Donald Trump is backtracking on campaign pledges to create American jobs and cut wasteful government spending by issuing an executive order to freeze federal employee hiring across the country, which will result in more work being outsourced to more expensive contractors, the American Federation of Government Employees said today.
“President Trump’s action will disrupt government programs and services that benefit everyone,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
More than 85 percent of federal employees live and work outside the nation’s capital, so a hiring freeze targeting civilian workers will be felt in cities and towns across the country.
The number of federal employees has been frozen at about 2 million for the past 50 years, since John F. Kennedy was president. Meanwhile, the number of contractors employed by the government has grown to at least twice the number of full-time federal employees, and trillions of dollars have been wasted on service contracts and mismanaged weapons systems.
“Numerous studies have shown that contractors are two to three times more costly than each federal employee they replace,” Cox said. “President Trump’s federal hiring freeze will result in more government waste if agencies are forced to hire high-priced contractors to do the work that federal employees can and should be doing.”
President Trump’s executive order excludes employees working on national security and defense issues, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the current federal workforce. That means the hiring freeze will disproportionately affect domestic agencies and programs, many of which have already endured severe budget cuts this decade.
“This hiring freeze will mean longer lines at Social Security offices, fewer workplace safety inspections, less oversight of environmental polluters, and greater risk to our nation’s food supply and clean water systems,” Cox said.
“All Americans should be outraged that President Trump is gutting federal programs and funneling their taxpayer dollars into the hands of less-regulated private companies who answer to their corporate shareholders and not the American people,” Cox said.
*This post has been updated after the White House's release of the hiring freeze memorandum.