Secret Service overtime bill is moving in Congress

USA Today Politics 12 months ago

In this Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump walks with his U.S. Secret Service protective detail as he waves before he departs on Air Force One in Yuma, Ariz.(Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)

WASHINGTON — The House has moved a step closer to providing overtime pay for the Secret Service agents who protect President Trump and his family, after they maxed out the amount budgeted for the year.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a bill Wednesday raising the overtime cap from $161,900 to $187,000 after USA TODAY revealed Aug. 21 that the agency was running out of money covering Trump and his extended family’s travel.

The bill will next be considered by the House Judiciary Committee. There does not appear to be a companion measure in the Senate. It passed the Oversight Committee on a voice vote.

USA TODAY reported that, partly because of Trump’s regular weekend visits to his properties in New Jersey and Florida and his adult children’s frequent travels, the service would run out of overtime pay before the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.

The Secret Service is now protecting 42 people, including 18 Trump family members. That's up from 31 during the Obama years.

The overwork and constant travel has led to an exodus from the elite force. The bill passed Wednesday addresses that by asking the service to report to Congress on its planned retention remedy .

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., introduced the legislation on Monday. He is chairman of the Homeland Security subcommittee that oversees presidential protection programs. About 1,000, or one-third, of the force has already exceeded the overtime cap this year. 

Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said that while raising the overtime cap is "a necessary short term fix," meaningful reforms to address attrition must be found.

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