By Jonah Bennett, DCNF
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a full list of jobs Friday that are exempt from President Donald Trump’s expansive hiring freeze, and the list includes a total of 73 occupations extending beyond basic care.
Acting Secretary of the VA Robert Snyder issued a memo Friday, providing a long list of exemptions based on a statement he made earlier Tuesday that the agency must “exempt anyone it deems necessary for public safety, including frontline caregivers.”
But the list provided Friday seems to move far beyond frontline caregivers and notes a large number of specialties able to skirt the freeze instituted by Trump’s executive order Monday, such as psychologists, nurses, security guards, chaplains, speech pathologists, medical records administrators and others.
Additionally, 24 facilities are listed as also being partially exempt from the freeze, since these locations are under construction and require a more wide-ranging support staff to keep running.
“To ensure veterans are able to continue accessing state-of-the-art facilities and the quality care they deserve, I am granting exemptions to ensure the minimum staffing required to become or remain operation, and to ensure that the safety and health standards required by law are met,” Snyder said in the memo.
One of these facilities is the infamous, scandal-plagued hospital in Denver, Colorado, that suffers from insane cost overruns.
Other positions at the National Cemetery Administration also make the exemption list. These jobs, the memo states, are “directly involved in the burial of veterans and eligible family members.”
The memo states that in the absence of these exemptions, “The safety and welfare of veterans would be at stake.”
Democratic legislators immediately took umbrage at the freeze, arguing in a letter Trump should completely exempt the VA. Republicans also asked for Trump to issue some follow-up clarification. But for someone on the inside like VA whistleblower Brandon Coleman, Trump’s hiring freeze is necessary for the department to stop misappropriating resources.
“I support the hiring freeze until he gets the right managers in place,” Coleman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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