Marnee Banks | Tester | 202.604.5521

Brian Rogers | McCain | 202.224.7130

Senate Passes Tester, McCain’s Border Patrol Reform Bill to Save Taxpayers Millions

Legislation Will Reform Pay Schedules, Offer Agents More Certainty and Strengthen Border Security

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester and Senator John McCain’s bill to reform the border patrol pay system cleared the Senate Thursday with unanimous support.

“By saving $100 million every year, providing Border Patrol Agents with more certainty in their paychecks and work schedules, and dramatically bolstering border security, we’re delivering a win for taxpayers and a win for agents,” Tester said.  “I’ll work with my colleagues in the House to get this good government bill across the finish line.”

“I am gratified by the Senate’s passage of this common-sense solution to provide much-needed stability to our nation’s border patrol pay scale,” said McCain. “Spending cuts due to sequestration, coupled with an archaic and inefficient pay scale, put at risk the safety of Border Patrol Agents and threaten to reverse much of the progress these agents have made along the border over the last few years.  I hope my colleagues in the House will expedite final passage of much-needed reform and join in this effort to improve the security of our borders.”


Tester and McCain’s legislation allows Border Patrol Agents to choose between three pay schedule options and work either 100 hours (20 hours of overtime), 90 hours (10 hours of overtime), or 80 hours (no overtime) per pay period.  The bill reforms a complicated and inefficient overtime pay system and holds the Border Patrol more accountable for how it spends taxpayer money.


As Chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the federal workforce, Tester introduced his bill last November in the wake of a government report that shows Homeland Security employees were abusing an outdated pay system.  The Tester-McCain bill creates a more efficient pay system that is less reliant on overtime.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say this new pay system would also provide additional manpower in the field to address security threats along the border.  And in states like Montana, where agents must often travel long distances to assigned locations in frontier or rugged areas along the border, the legislation would reduce gaps in security between shifts.


“The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol would like to thank Senators Tester and McCain for introducing and passing out of the Senate the Pay Reform Act.  This common-sense solution will effectively put another 1,500 highly trained agents on the border while saving taxpayers $100 million a year and we could not have done it without them,” stated Brandon Judd, President National Border Patrol Council. 


Tester and McCain’s bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).  It is available online HERE and will now be considered by the House of Representatives.