Fitzpatrick-led bipartisan bill ensures CBP officers receive retirement benefits

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on April 5 sponsored bipartisan legislation that would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to correct an error that denied certain officers their enhanced retirement and annuity benefits.

“We must do right by the dedicated Customs and Border Protection officers who defend our ports of entry and work every day to keep our nation safe,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. He added that he was proud to introduce legislation to fix the error and give officers the retirement benefits they earned during their years of service to the United States.

The congressman introduced the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Retirement Technical Corrections Act, H.R. 7869, alongside three original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). 

“A decades-long error should not mean that 1,200 Customs and Border Patrol Officers are denied the retirement benefits they were promised,” said Rep. Raskin. “Recognizing mistakes and working to correct them, as this legislation aims to do, is the right thing to do.”

Under current law that went into effect on July 6, 2008, CBP officers are entitled to an enhanced retirement benefit, subject to certain mandatory retirement requirements. CBP officers who were employed as of that date are entitled to a transitional enhanced retirement benefit without the corresponding mandatory retirement requirements, according to the congressional record bill summary.

If enacted, H.R. 7869 would specify that CBP officers who received a tentative offer of employment before July 6, 2008, and who started work on or after that date, are entitled to this proportional annuity, and the Office of Personnel Management must correct annuity calculations for them, including retroactively, based on a list compiled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

DHS also may retroactively waive mandatory retirement requirements for these officers so that they may receive the proportional annuity, and the Government Accountability Office must report on CBP’s policies and procedures related to enhanced retirement benefits, the summary says.

H.R. 7869 is the companion bill to the same-named S. 311 led by U.S. Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Josh Hawley (R-MO). The U.S. Senate in November 2023 passed S. 311 by unanimous consent.

The National Treasury Employees Union endorsed the bill.