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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Cole Introduces H.R. 989 and H.R. 990

February 14, 2017
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he introduced legislation to prohibit the federal employee hiring freeze from being applied to certain Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees, and a measure to ensure work at Tinker Air Force Base and McAlester Ammunition Plant can continue if there is a lapse in federal funding.   
H.R. 989 would exempt certain Department of Defense civilian employees from any furlough resulting from a lapse in discretionary appropriations.
“While Congress works to complete its appropriations process for the rest of Fiscal Year 2017 and for Fiscal Year 2018, it is imperative that our civilian employees like those at Tinker Air Force Base continue with their work with the confidence,” said Cole. “Maintenance and sustainment work at Tinker Air Force Base in my district, rely on the constant cycle of finding, training and retaining workers to ensure the warfighter has the equipment that they need. It would be a waste of taxpayer and federal dollars if we prevent work from taking place that has already been paid for scheduled. We must keep pace with the sustainment of our weapon systems.”
H.R. 990 would prohibit any hiring freeze affecting Department of Defense civilian employees in facilities that perform depot maintenance, or are designated as a center for industrial and technical excellence.
Currently, there are over 550 positions affected by the Executive Order hiring freeze at Tinker Air Force Base. However, thousands of employees will be affected due to attrition rates, workload requirements, reassignments, career promotions and other actions. 
“The maintenance and technical operations conducted at Tinker and around the country cannot afford to be delayed. An ongoing hiring freeze, or lack of funding, postpones the delivery of military equipment to the warfighter and what we cannot make up for is lost time for training.  As the Vice Chiefs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before Congress last week, our military’s readiness levels are well below where they must be, and the hiring freeze is only making matters worse.”
Contact: Teresa Davis (202) 225-6165