Washington, DC - Statement by Secretary Johnson on the Passage of the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act:
I am very pleased that yesterday the House of Representatives approved S. 1691, the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014. This legislation replaces the Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) system that had been used by the Border Patrol. Last year the Office of Special Counsel highlighted a number of problems with the AUO system. After further investigation of the AUO system by this Department’s General Counsel, I was obliged to suspend AUO for several categories of Border Patrol personnel in January of this year. I did not enjoy taking that action. Fully and properly compensating our Border Patrol personnel for the hours they work to secure the border is paramount. Thus, working with Congress to replace the AUO system with a new and sound one for ensuring that our Border Patrol personnel are properly paid for their work has been a top priority of this Department.
This legislation is a win-win for the Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security. It will replace the AUO system, increase the Border Patrol’s work hour capacity by over 2.5 million hours annually – the equivalent of an additional 1,500 agents securing our borders -- and, at the same time, reduce overall costs. The legislation had the support of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents over 17,000 agents.
I thank the Congress for its bipartisan support for this bill, and for the leadership of Senators John McCain, Tom Coburn, Tom Carper, Jon Tester, and Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Michael McCaul and their staffs, in pushing S. 1691 through to passage, and for their support of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security.