Two GOP senators on Friday asked the White House to freeze federal hiring until President-elect Donald Trump takes office — just in case the outgoing Obama administration was planning a last-minute hiring spree.
“Because we know that you are sincere in overseeing a smooth transition, we hope members of your administration will resist the urge to accelerate the hiring of career civil servants who may not share the priorities of the new administration,” Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.) wrote in a brief letter to President Obama.
They urged the president to block new hires to the federal payroll between now and Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, with an exemption for jobs related to safety or public health.
The lawmakers said a freeze on new civil servants would be not just a “gesture of bipartisanship and goodwill,” but a “precedent for future presidential transitions.”
A White House official did not have an immediate comment on the request.
Any hiring freeze by Obama would, in theory, be followed immediately by another one from Trump himself. The president-elect’s plan of action for his first 100 days in office includes stopping new hires for all civilian federal jobs, except those related to the military, public health and safety.
It’s unclear how many employees are traditionally hired into government in the closing weeks of an administration. What is clear is that getting a federal job usually takes months, and agencies are likely to be at various stages of that process right now.
Johnson and Tillis suggested that last-minute hires into the Obama administration “may not be willing to properly execute the policies of the new administration.” In theory, though, civil servants are supposed to be party- and president-neutral.