A Senate bill would overhaul the overtime pay system for the Border Patrol. (John Moore / Getty Images)
The overtime pay system at the Border Patrol would be revamped and limited under legislation passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee June 25.
The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2013 allows the border patrol to classify jobs within three pay schedule options that allow for 20 hours of overtime, 10 hours of overtime or no overtime per two-week pay period.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who sponsored the bill alongside Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the current system relies far too much on overtime and the bill would provide reliable paychecks for agents while saving the agency up to $70 million a year.
PREVIOUSLY: Border Patrol overtime system under scrutiny
“Reform of the border patrol pay system is long overdue,” Tester said. “The operational needs of 40 years ago are a far cry from the criminal operations we see today.”
The legislation stems from widespread allegation that border patrol agents were abusing the current overtime system by authorizing overtime when it was not needed.
The bill also requires Border Patrol to assess its staffing needs at every post along the border and estimate the funding needed to fulfill those needs, while the Government Accountability Office is required to oversee those assessments.
McCain said the current situation at the border highlights the need for pay reform along the border and the Senate should work to pass the legislation soon.