McCain to Tillerson: Stop hiring freeze at State Dept
© Getty Images

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms MORE (R-Ariz.) urged Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWatchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US Trump administration rigging the game, and your retirement fund could be the loser Haley’s exit sends shockwaves through Washington MORE on Wednesday to end his hiring freeze in the State Department, citing concerns that a depletion of foreign service officers could harm U.S. diplomatic efforts. 

McCain and Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBrunson release spotlights the rot in Turkish politics and judiciary Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen Senators demand answers on Trump administration backing of Saudi coalition in Yemen MORE (D-N.H.) wrote a joint letter to Tillerson taking issue with the department's "failure to replace losses" in its ranks "due to attrition and resignations," that they said appeared as if intentionally aimed at reducing the department's staff size. 

"We know from experience that shutting off the intake of entry-level Foreign Service officers will inevitably result in shortages of appropriately experienced personnel at specific grades in future years," the senators wrote. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The senators demanded that the State Department lift the freeze, refrain from imposing any further measures aimed at reducing staffing levels and promote high-performing officers to retain talent in the department. 

McCain and Shaheen cited the drastic numbers of departures from the department and falling numbers of entry-level applicants, which they said were the product of "questionable management practices" and a "lack of experienced leadership." 

Tillerson in April decided to maintain the hiring freeze even as other federal agencies lift their freeze. 

Trump had signed an executive order on his first full work day in the White House that temporarily halted all nonmilitary federal hiring, an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” and reduce the size of government.