Protecting President Donald Trump and his large family has taken a financial toll on the Secret Service, USA Today reports.
More than 1,000 agents have already hit the statutory limits on salary and overtime pay meant to last the entire year, director Randolph “Tex” Alles told the newspaper.
The same thing happened in 2016, according to NPR, and Congress allowed Secret Service employees to exceed the mandated overtime caps.
Without similar congressional intervention again, the agency won’t be able to pay agents for work they’ve already done, Alles said.
Protecting Trump and his kin has contributed to a “crushing workload” that began at the height of the election season and has not relented in Trump’s first seven months in office, USA Today reports.
Agents go where the president and his family members go – overseas and elsewhere with his adult children on business trips and vacations, and nearly every weekend since inauguration to Trump properties with Trump, according to the newspaper.
“We have them working all night long; we’re sending them out on the road all the time,” Alles told USA Today. “There are no quick fixes, but over the long term, I’ve got to give them a better balance here.”
According to NPR, overtime and constant travel have fueled a recent exodus from the agency’s ranks. The Secret Service added about 800 agents and officers in the last year to cut overtime costs, USA Today reported, but attrition is winnowing the ranks.
On Monday, Alles issued a statement saying the agency has enough money to “meet all current mission requirements” through the end of the fiscal year and to pay employees for overtime within statutory pay caps.
“This issue is not one that can be attributed to the current administration’s protection requirements alone, but rather has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade due to an overall increase in operational tempo,” Alles said in the statement.
He told USA Today the Secret Service is protecting an unprecedented number of people connected to Trump – 42, which includes 18 family members.
The agency protected 31 people under the Obama administration, according to USA Today.
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Alles told the publication. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox News that he and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, are working on a “legislative remedy.”
“Mr. Cummings and I have spoken twice this morning about our mutual desire to see the Secret Service funded and the agents treated fairly while acknowledging the difficult and important job they have,” Gowdy said in his statement to Fox.