Legislator pens bill calling for federal hiring freeze

Legislation introduced Monday by U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, calls for a federal hiring freeze until the country’s budget deficit has been eliminated.

Marino, frustrated with a $17 trillion national debt and President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to compromise on spending cuts, said his proposal is just one step to help dig out of a deep financial hole.

“Someone has to be man enough to step up to the plate and introduce it,” he said Tuesday during a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

He said Obama will continue to tax the American public.

“He didn’t want an agreement. He wanted a tax on everyone,” Marino said of Obama’s stance during fiscal cliff negotiations. “He’s not trustworthy; he’s simply a tax-and-spend person.”

“Everybody knows why we need to do this, but he doesn’t care,” Marino continued. “In four years we’re going to be bankrupt and in four years he’s going to be out of here and make lots of money.”

Marino introduced similar legislation in 2011. Since then, the national debt has increased by $2.1 trillion while the U.S. borrows 46 cents of every dollar it spends, he said.

The bill contains exceptions when federal hiring would be permitted, such as times of war, national security interests and federal law enforcement purposes.

“I have the utmost respect for federal employees, and this bill is in no way an attack on these employees or the work that they do,” Marino said. “But I believe that federal workers are willing and able to step up and be a part of the solution. Our nation’s current fiscal course is simply unsustainable and we cannot afford to bankroll this administration’s endless spending spree.”

Marino said the bill has a good chance to move forward. It will proceed to committee hearings where Marino may have an opportunity to provide testimony, he said.

“Obviously, a hiring freeze is not a silver bullet that will unilaterally lead us out of this crisis, but it is a start,” he said.