Busy Trump Travel Schedule Adds To Secret Service Overtime Costs
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The Secret Service is being very open about budget troubles. It has enough money to pay for operations through the end of September, but then after that, the director says they will need a boost in order to afford overtime. In part, the agency is strained by the costs of protecting President Trump and his far-flung family. But as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, that is not the only issue.
BRIAN NAYLOR, BYLINE: Secret Service Director Randolph Tex Alles says roughly 1,100 employees will work overtime this calendar year, earning more than the pay cap set by Congress. In a statement, he blames an overall increase in operational tempo and not the current administration's protection requirements alone. But there's no question President Trump's frequent travels from Washington, as well as the necessity to protect his family members, is putting a strain on the agency. His adult children travel the world for their businesses. And the Service has also had to protect first lady Melania and their son at their Trump Tower residence, as well as those weekends the president plays golf at Mar-a-Lago, Fla., and Bedminster, N.J. Former agent Jonathan Wackrow told NPR this spring that it all adds up.
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JONATHAN WACKROW: The Secret Service is currently operating at lower numbers than we have in modern times. That, combined with the travel schedule and the need to secure multiple locations that the president resides, you know, puts a manpower strain on the Secret Service week after week.
NAYLOR: The agency now protects 42 people around the clock, 11 more than during the Obama administration, according to USA Today, which first broke the story. The Secret Service has some 3,200 special agents and 1,300 uniformed officers, along with 2,000 other employees. It seems likely it will get the resources it needs to pay the agents overtime costs. Republican Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee and the ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, each say they'll work to ensure the agents get the pay they've earned. Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.
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