FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans, led by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., are calling for the chamber to include a measure in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would provide additional overtime pay for Border Patrol agents as they continue to tackle an ongoing migrant crisis at the southern border.
In a letter to Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers, the seven lawmakers call for the House version to include language in the Senate version of the FY 2024 NDAA which would grant special overtime payments to Border Patrol agents to the tune of an extra 50% of the hourly rate of their basic pay.
They argue that such an inclusion is justified due to the ongoing crisis at the southern border, which Republicans have blamed on the policies of the Biden administration.
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"Because of the historic crisis fueled by this administration’s directives to welcome migrants and maximize ‘lawful’ pathways, Border Patrol agents are working long hours beyond the call of duty. Section 11133 is essential to ensure that our brave Border Patrol agents will be fairly compensated for every hour worked, including overtime. Furthermore, this language brings Border Patrol overtime levels into alignment with similar agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)," they wrote.
Lawmakers on the letter alongside Biggs include Reps. W. Gregory Steube, R-Fla.; Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Ore.; Eli Crane, R-Ariz.; Nick Langworthy, R-N.Y.; Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J.; and Andy Ogles, R-Tenn.
The Biden administration has called for more money primarily for processing migrants from Congress, including a $4 billion supplemental budget request announced this month. This week it announced an extra $77 million for NGOs and communities dealing with the migrant surge. It has also urged Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S.
Republicans in the House have introduced and passed their own legislation that would enshrine the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), change laws related to unaccompanied children and restrict the use of parole.
It would also restart border wall construction, increase the number of Border Patrol agents and offer retention bonuses for agents to tackle low morale among overwhelmed staff.
"Too many brave Border Patrol agents are placed in dangerous situations due to this administration’s border crisis," the lawmakers said Wednesday in their letter. "Congress has the opportunity to demonstrate to these brave agents and to the American people our commitment to a secure border and to our law enforcement agents answering the call of duty."
"Open border policies have consequences, and the bravest among us should be rewarded for their diligence and dedication. Other agencies have this overtime benefit, and it is well past due to restore full overtime pay to Border Patrol agents," they said.