(CN) - The Justice Department on Monday lifted a hiring freeze that's been in place for more than three years due to budget cuts and sequestration.
"After years of doing more with less, we will begin to fill critical vacancies," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video message
He credited Congress for passing a bipartisan budget agreement "that allowed our appropriators to restore Justice Department funding to pre-sequestration levels -- and even adds funding for key priorities."
The attorney general said he'd been forced to implement the freeze in 2011, when sharp budget cuts, sequestration and a government shutdown strained the department's capacity. The freeze resulted in a loss of more than 4,000 jobs, Holder said.
He specifically thanked the leaders of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees - Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Reps. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.) - for their "leadership in securing this important agreement."
"These added resources will help us carry out our critical law enforcement responsibilities and improve public safety," he said.