Congress Sends President Obama Bipartisan Legislation to Bolster DHS Cyber Workforce, Border Patrol Pay Reform
Media Contact: Lauren Claffey; April Ward (202) 226-8477
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed S. 1691, a bipartisan bill which will strengthen efforts to combat cyber attacks on vital digital networks by supporting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cybersecurity workforce, while also reforming the overtime payment system for Custom and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol to save taxpayer dollars and better secure the border.
“I am pleased Congress has passed this important bill that mirrors provisions in H.R. 3696, my legislation to bolster cybersecurity,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. “The cyber threat from criminals, hacktivists and nation states to personal information, intellectual property and our nation’s vital networks is growing. This bill will improve DHS’s cybersecurity capabilities by streamlining the hiring process for recruiting and retaining qualified cyber professionals.
“Additionally, this bill saves taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year by reforming Border Patrol’s overtime payment system. Through this bill, CBP can prevent the misuse of overtime pay, create certainty for our hardworking Border Patrol agents and better secure our borders. I urge the president to sign this important legislation into law.”
Specifically, S. 1691, the Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Act, will eliminate the current overtime system used by the Border Patrol, and replace it with a new system that results in greater accountability. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this reformed system will save taxpayers $100 million each year. The legislation will also result in the current Border Patrol workforce working an additional 2.5 million hours each year or the equivalent of adding 1,500 full time agents.
S. 1691 also contains an important amendment to bolster the cybersecurity defense of our nation by restructuring the hiring process for cybersecurity professionals at DHS. It will allow the department to establish cybersecurity positions in the “excepted service,” similar to those positions offered at the Department of Defense. The provision mirrors legislation introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Yvette Clarke (D-NY).
The bill passed the House by voice vote and will be sent to the president for his signature.