The federal hiring freeze imposed by President Trump in January is slated to be lifted Wednesday, but agencies won't be allowed to hire willy-nilly, the president's chief budget officer said.
Instead, White House officials expect them to staff up only in areas slated for expansion under the president's budget proposal released last month, for example at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Other agencies will be expected to downsize, including the Environmental Protection Agency, which under the budget proposal would shed some 3,200 positions — or roughly 20% of its workforce.
"What we're doing tomorrow is replacing the across-the-board hiring freeze that we put into place on day one in office and replacing it with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan," said Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Mulvaney was the chief architect of Trump's budget blueprint that proposed deep cuts to education and health care programs and a surge in military spending. That budget proposed the elimination of at least 60 agencies and programs and steep personnel cuts in others.
In a memo he expects to send to agency heads on Wednesday, Mulvaney says they should assess positions as they become vacant to determine whether filling them is in line with the agencies' missions and the president's plan.
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The memo also outlines steps they should take to formulate plans to make the federal government more efficient, per an order Trump signed last month. That directed Mulvaney to consult with departments and agencies to identify wasteful spending, redundant programs and potential improvements to government services.
Mulvaney also was instructed to consider whether functions should be left to state and local governments or the private sector.