Hurd’s efforts pay off in House passage of border patrol pay reform bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 26 passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) to modify and streamline the payment process and work schedules for federal border patrol agents.

“The brave men and women of our border patrol … should be properly compensated for the highly dangerous and demanding jobs they perform,” Rep. Hurd said on Sept. 26. “These agents and their families deserve nothing short of certainty.”

The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Amendments Act of 2018, H.R. 5896, which the congressman introduced on May 21, aims to lessen bureaucratic red tape that the congressman thinks has negatively affected the safety and fair pay received by the nation’s border patrol agents.

“I thank my colleagues for coming together in a bipartisan manner to support our border patrol … and I will continue to stand tall in Congress for the folks who put their lives on the line each day to keep Americans safe,” said Rep. Hurd.

U.S. Reps. Martha McSally (R-AZ), chairwoman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, and Filemon Vela (D-TX), the subcommittee’s ranking member, are the original cosponsors of H.R. 5896.

“I was honored to lead the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Amendments Act with my friend and colleague Congressman Will Hurd,” Rep. McSally said. “As two of the nine members of Congress who represent southern border communities, we both fully understand the weight of responsibility we put on our agents.”

Rep. Hurd, whose district includes more than 820 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, called border patrol agents the “most important border security resources” in the United States.

H.R. 5896 would amend the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act of 2014 to streamline regulations related to the overtime payment process for agent participation in advanced training, for example, and for alternative work schedules, among other changes, according to the text of the bill.

Such changes, Rep. McSally pointed out, will ensure agents receive “due compensation for the high-risk jobs they perform,” and “help increase retention of our experienced agents.”

H.R. 5896 is supported by the National Border Patrol Council, among other organizations. Brandon Judd, the council’s president, thanked Rep. Hurd for his efforts on the bill.

“This is the second time that Congressman Hurd has worked with the National Border Patrol Council to address challenges we have faced after Congress instituted a new pay system for border patrol agents three years ago,” Judd said. “Washington needs common sense problem solvers and Congressman Hurd is that kind of member of Congress who can work in bipartisan basis to get results in Washington.”

The U.S. Senate received H.R. 5896 on Sept. 27 and referred it for consideration to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.