Tester to Trump: Your Hiring Freeze is Hurting Indian Country

Senator Demands President Exempt IHS, BIA, and BIE from Executive Order

(U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester today demanded that President Trump exempt critical Native American health care, law enforcement, and education agencies from his damaging federal hiring freeze executive order. 

Tester outlined the impacts a federal hiring freeze will have on Indian Country in a letter to Trump.

“Any freeze in hiring for Indian initiatives, whether temporary or permanent, threatens to make the challenges facing Indian Country worse,” Tester wrote.  “I urge you to reconsider and reverse the freeze as it applies to Indian Country and to direct affected agency heads to take whatever actions are necessary to fill positions that serve Native Americans.” 

Tester emphasized in his letter that Indian Health Service medical facilities are already facing physician vacancy rates that exceed 20 percent, and the hiring freeze will reduce access to critical medical services in Native American communities. 

There are currently 100 vacancies, including dozens of teachers, at the Bureau of Indian Education, and that the President’s executive order is making it harder to recruit and retain teachers at Native American schools. 

Tester additionally highlighted that the hiring freeze undermines public safety in Indian Country.  According to the Indian Law and Order Commission, there is a 50 percent staffing shortage for law enforcement officers in Native American communities, and Trump’s executive order prohibits the hiring of any more law enforcement officers in Indian Country. 

Tester’s letter to Trump is available HERE.