About a week ago we reported on the new U.S. administration's federal hiring freeze, and how it could affect a number of federal departments. One of those was the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Snyder plans to retain at least the minimum required amount of staff members."
A few days ago, Military.com reported that acting VA Secretary Robert Snyder clarified the regulation's impact on the VA by issuing a memorandum listing exempt VA positions. These include:
- Positions related to VA-related projects and facilities being established across the nation. Snyder plans to retain at least the minimum required number of staff members to operate the facilities and ensure they abide by government health regulations.
- Specific positions that require the VA to meet its required public health and safety requirements. There's a long list of such positions, but some notable ones include certain nurses, physicians, medical officers, psychologists, social workers, pharmacists, therapists, dentists, and positions related to medical records, support and security.
In a separate statement, Snyder supported the exemptions because he said it'll ensure that veterans continue to receive the care they need.
"The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to exempt anyone it deems necessary for public health and safety, including frontline caregivers," Snyder said. "The president and VA remain committed to seeing that our veterans receive the quality care and benefits they've earned. This is the right thing to do for our veterans."
The administration's goal in freezing federal employment is to decrease "the federal workforce through attrition," The New York Times reported. Some people support the plan, while others believe it'll disrupt services. While it's not completely clear how this strategy will affect federal departments and organizations in the long run, Snyder's memorandum has provided some clarity in the short term.