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One issue regarding the incoming Trump administration’s planned federal hiring freeze is whether it would be total or whether it would be only partial, leaving room for agencies to backfill positions that become vacant but that they deem to be mission-critical. That has been a common exception in past actual freezes, and proposals from House Republicans for a freeze would have allowed for hiring one employee for every three who leave. CBO has raised the same idea in reports laying out options for reducing the deficit—although it does not actually endorse those options—while also raising the possibility of further barring agencies from hiring contractors to take over work. Both CBO and the Republican plans would exempt “national security” related positions—without defining how broadly that exemption would reach. One issue regarding the Trump statement is whether the planned exemption for the “military” refers to uniformed personnel—who do not go through the federal hiring process in any event—or to civilian federal employees supporting military functions, which could carve out much of DoD, the largest agency. Similarly, “public safety” has been interpreted in past hiring freezes—such as the ones some agencies imposed in 2013 due to “sequestration”—as exempting virtually all law enforcement-related positions (along with positions such as firefighters). That would carve out, for example, large portions of DHS and Justice, among others. And “public health” could mean an exception for the majority of the VA, the second-largest agency, as well as health care providers at DoD and other agencies and potentially agencies such as the CDC.