Rep. Jim Jordan’s hardline approach targets federal employees and, by extension, veterans
COMMENTARY | "As lawmakers, it's incumbent upon our representatives to understand the ramifications of their proposals, especially when they negatively impact a group as deserving of our support as veterans," writes Michael Embrich about the GOP speaker nominee.
In recent years, our political discourse has become more polarized, with both sides staking out increasingly uncompromising positions. But a concerning trend has emerged as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, maneuvers his way towards the House speakership: a consistent record of targeting federal employees.
It is a matter of public record that Jordan has shown a historical willingness to push policies that are not merely conservative, but overtly combative towards the federal workforce. This includes advocating for pay freezes, endorsing staffing reductions, and showing a readiness to shutdown government functions to achieve his objectives.
While the partisan battlefield has always seen its fair share of hard-nosed strategies, what makes Jordan’s approach particularly troubling is that his measures would inadvertently target a demographic that we all, regardless of party, claim to respect and honor: our veterans. Roughly 30% of federal employees are veterans. These are men and women who have served our country in uniform and have chosen to continue their service in a civilian capacity. By cutting their pay, reducing their ranks, or furloughing them due to government shutdowns, Jordan’s policies would be a slap in the face to these dedicated individuals.
It’s essential to underscore this correlation because it's easy to dismiss the plight of faceless "bureaucrats" in the abstract. Yet when we realize that Jordan's policies would affect tens of thousands of veterans – people who have sacrificed for the safety and freedom of this country – the conversation takes on a more somber tone.
Furthermore, Jordan's fiscal measures would wreak havoc on federal agencies' operations. Extending a continuing resolution, as he has proposed, only to follow it with a 1% spending reduction, would force agencies into a chaotic scramble. This isn’t fiscal responsibility; it’s a recipe for mismanagement.
Critics might argue that Jordan's policies are not directly aimed at veterans and that the correlation between his policy aims and their impact on veterans is incidental. Even if this were true, it's a weak defense. As lawmakers, it's incumbent upon our representatives to understand the ramifications of their proposals, especially when they negatively impact a group as deserving of our support as veterans.
Jordan's ongoing campaign for the speakership highlights the challenges our political system faces. As he pushes forward, we must remember that policy isn’t just a game of numbers and budgets. It’s about real people and, in this case, people who have given a lot for this nation.
In our increasingly divisive political climate, we must prioritize bipartisan reverence for our veterans. Any policy or politician that inadvertently targets them deserves scrutiny and, most importantly, a reconsideration of their approach.
Michael Embrich is a veteran, former member of the secretary of Veterans Affairs' Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans, and former congressional staffer.