Shaheen, Hassan Announce that Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & All Public Shipyards Will Be Exempt from Federal Hiring Freeze

February 02, 2017

**Department of Defense issues clarification in response to calls from Shaheen, Hassan to exempt civilian shipyard employees, who are critical to our national security**

 **The recent executive order signed by President Trump caused the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to suspend hiring**

 (Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced today that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and all Navy public shipyards will be exempt from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze. The clarification from the Department of Defense (DOD) comes in response to calls from Shaheen and Hassan to establish this exemption, after Shaheen’s office learned that several new hires at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard received letters indefinitely postponing their start date. Last week, Shaheen led a bipartisan Congressional letter, signed by Hassan, to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling for him to exempt shipyard employees from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze, and on Monday, the senators joined Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) to introduce legislation that would that establish this exemption.

“I’m very pleased that the Department of Defense heeded our call to exempt shipyard employees from President Trump’s hiring freeze so that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and all of our nation’s public shipyards, can continue to fulfill their missions,” said Senator Shaheen. “The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, along with the civilian employees who work there, are integral to our national security. Today’s announcement allows the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to continue local hiring to ensure that critical maintenance requirements are met so our submarine fleet can address security challenges around the world.”

“I am grateful that the Department of Defense has announced that civilian shipyard employees, including those at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, are exempt from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze following Senator Shaheen and my request,” Senator Hassan said. “Employees at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are integral to our national security and our state’s economic vitality, working every day to ensure that the Navy can successfully execute its mission. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight for hard-working shipyard employees in New Hampshire and across America and to protect our national security.” 

The blanket hiring freeze announced by the Trump Administration last week prevented shipyards across the country from hiring engineers, acquisition workforce personnel, trade mechanics, radiological and emergency personnel, regulatory compliance and other support personnel that are necessary to maintaining the Navy’s surface and submarine fleets.