President Donald Trump has lifted the federal hiring freeze, but federal agencies are still asked to make cuts to its workforce personnel.
As a presidential candidate, Trump promised to reign in the power of Washington, in part by limiting the power of the federal government -- including the number of its employees. But stopping the hiring freeze, which he issued during his first days in office, is also a signal to federal agencies to keep doing business as usual.
However, Trump administration officials denied Trump was pulling back any campaign promises.
"This is a big part of draining the swamp," said Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, according to The New York Times. "This is a centerpiece to his campaign."
But the move is a pullback from the executive order Trump issued in January, which put an immediate halt to any further expansion of the federal government, including basic hiring in agency jobs.
"This memorandum counters through dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years," Sean Spicer, Trump's press secretary, said during his first press briefing in January, according to The Washington Post. "In particular, it prevents filling vacant positions and creating new positions except when necessary to meet national or public security responsibilities."
He added that "it does not apply to military personnel and it ensures that the American taxpayers get effective and efficient government."
The Trump administration says its decision to lift the federal hiring freeze is a first step towards implementing a conservative budget.
"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 Mulvaney, accourding to USA Today.
Mulvaney, whom USA Today describes as the "architect″ of the developing federal budget -- which calls for the elimination of 60 agencies and programs -- said in a memo that agency heads will need to outline steps they believe the federal government should make to enforce cuts in their agencies.
That directive is something Trump promised to enforce during his first days in office.
"We have assembled one of the greatest cabinets in history," Trump said during the signing of his executive order about federal hiring in January. "And we want to empower them to make their agencies as lean and effective as possible and they know how to do it. Today there is duplication and redundancy everywhere. Billions and billions of dollars are being wasted."