Chaffetz Aims to Fix Broken Border Patrol Pay System

Nov 13, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jason Chaffetz introduced H.R. 3463, The Border Patrol Pay Reform Act of 2013. This bipartisan legislation aims to fix inadequacies in Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) – the overtime component within the Border Patrol pay system – by creating a consistent and reliable pay system. These reforms will also enhance border security and save taxpayers more than $1 billion over 10 years according to initial estimates.  

“In addition to saving $125 million a year, we are looking to bring more consistency to those who risk their lives everyday protecting the border. This new pay scale is a long term solution that will iron out the kinks of the current system through old-fashioned planning and time management. These changes will both reduce opportunities to abuse the system and provide compensation for unanticipated emergencies such as capturing criminals,” said Chaffetz. 

The Border Patrol pay system was established almost 40 years ago and is different from the system covering other federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI or Secret Service. A recent report released by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) detailed the misuse of the AUO system by agents in the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Situation Room.

H.R. 3463 would address this problem by replacing AUO with three options: work 100 hours per pay period and receive a 25 percent differential, work 90 hours and receive a 12.5 percent differential, or work no overtime (80 hours per pay period). Additional unscheduled overtime will be treated as compensatory time off. Scheduled overtime will be paid.

In total, CBP would save $7,000 per agent per year in lower overtime costs while gaining the ability to legally schedule Agents for shift changes. According to initial estimates, this will save approximately $125 million per year or roughly $1.25 billion over 10 years.

The Border Patrol Pay Reform Act is strongly endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council and Border Patrol Agents nationwide. Nearly identical legislation is being introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and John McCain (R-AZ).

Additional cosponsors in the House include Reps. Candice Miller (R-MI), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Ron Barber (D-AZ), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

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