Washington – The Senate on Tuesday passed the House companion bill to S. 1356, a bipartisan bill to make sure that Border Patrol agents are paid their agreed-upon compensation. The Senate bill had been introduced and shepherded through the Senate process by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
The House companion, HR. 2252, now will go to the president’s desk for signature. It passed the Senate unanimously.
The bill, like its Senate companion, clarifies provisions of the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014. Senator Johnson, who is chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), introduced S. 1356 to reinstate overtime pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents after the Department of Homeland Security advised HSGAC that it would no longer make overtime payments to the agents. The department argued it cannot make such payments until a new pay system, created by the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014, is implemented at the end of this year. Beginning two weeks ago, Border Patrol agents saw a surprise reduction in their pay – something completely unintended by Congress.
Chairman Johnson and his colleagues on the committee acted swiftly to reinstate the earned overtime pay and ensure back payments would be made for overtime hours already worked. Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) co-sponsored Johnson’s legislation, which passed the Senate on May 14. After the House passed a companion bill the same day, the Senate took up the House-passed version to ensure quick final passage so border patrol agents would not have to endure another reduced paycheck.
The bill will have a significant impact on the financial well-being of the men and women who protect the nation’s borders. Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, thanked Chairman Johnson and the cosponsors for their “tireless effort to resolve this conflict and protect our agents and their families.” He also noted that it is “encouraging when leaders in Washington go to battle for us.”