Shaheen, Hassan Introduce Legislation to Exempt Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & Navy Shipyards Around the Country From Federal Hiring Freeze

**Recent executive order signed by President Trump has caused the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard & public shipyards to suspend hiring**

January 31, 2017

(Washington, DC)— Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced legislation with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) that would exempt the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and all Navy public shipyards, from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze. The Trump administration’s blanket hiring freeze prevents 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. Last week, Shaheen led a bipartisan Congressional letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling for this exemption. Senator Shaheen’s office has learned that several new hires have received letters indefinitely postponing their start date.

“President Trump’s hiring freeze hurts our shipyards, impairs maintenance of our Naval fleet and directly undermines our national security,” said Senator Shaheen. “In New Hampshire, I have already heard from several new hires whose start date at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has been postponed due to this hiring freeze. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard must be able to continue local hiring to ensure that critical maintenance requirements are met so our submarine fleet can address security challenges around the world.”

“The highly skilled workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard perform critical work that helps the Navy successfully execute its mission, contributing to our national security and our state’s economic vitality,” said Senator Hassan. “I’m proud to co-sponsor this important legislation to exempt shipyard civilian employees from President Trump’s federal hiring freeze, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both side of the aisle to ensure that partisan politics don’t prevent the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from fulfilling its vital mission.”

While the president’s executive order states that it does not apply to military personnel or positions considered essential to meet national security responsibilities, the lack of clarity has caused confusion at shipyards across the country. The legislation makes it clear that employees of the Navy public shipyards and those employees that directly support the shipyards are essential to national security and should not be subject to a hiring freeze that will negatively impact their mission-essential work.