McCain to Tillerson: Stop hiring freeze at State Dept
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid MORE (R-Ariz.) urged Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job Trump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation 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 ShaheenCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Dems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia 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. 

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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.