The Washington Post

Customs and Border Protection avoids sequester furloughs

Congress has approved a plan to avoid furloughs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees in fiscal 2013, according to a statement Wednesday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

CBP also will continue to pay for “administratively uncontrollable overtime,” which applies to Border Patrol agents when they work unscheduled extra hours to fulfill their duties, according to the announcement.

The agency had initially planned to furlough its employees for up to 14 days and eliminate unscheduled overtime for Border Patrol agents to trim costs under the government-wide spending cuts known as the sequester.

To avoid that fate, Homeland Security asked its House and Senate appropriators to allow a transfer of $11.3 million to CBP’s salaries and expenses account from other spending categories.

“The approval of this reprogramming request mitigates the challenges our workforce would have faced with furloughs and demonstrates the support of the entire department of CBP’s mission,” Napolitano said.

The labor group that represents customs agents applauded Congress for approving the plan. “No employee should face the loss of nearly three weeks’ pay — as would have been the case for CBP employees,” said National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley. “CBP already suffers from a serious understaffing problem at our nation’s borders.”

The plan deals with only fiscal 2013, meaning furloughs are possible in future years. The sequester is scheduled to continue until 2021 unless Congress and the president take action to end it.

CBP will aim to meet its sequester targets under the reprogramming plan by continuing with a hiring freeze, maintaining limited reductions in overtime, reducing travel and conferences, and forgoing certain types of bonuses, Napolitano said.

Homeland Security managed to transfer $11.3 million toward CBP salaries and expenses in part by shifting about $7 million from its infrastructure, technology and border-security fencing appropriations for fiscal 2011 and 2012. The department also moved about $4 million from its Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
Quoted
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
Quoted
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.