The Secret Service cannot pay hundreds of agents to protect President Donald Trump and his large family, according to a report published Monday morning.
Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles told USA Today more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances — which were meant to last the entire year.
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Alles told USA Today. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
Later Monday morning, Alles told CNN in a statement that the problem isn’t just related to the Trump administration and has been going on for many years.
“This issue is not one that can be attributed to the current administration’s protection requirements but, rather, has been an ongoing issue for nearly a decade due to an overall increase in operational tempo,” he said in the statement.
Trump has taken trips almost every weekend of his presidency so far, to his properties in New Jersey, Virginia and Florida, as well as internationally — and his adult children also require protection during their business trips and vacations.
In Trump’s administration, 42 people have protection, which includes 18 members of his family — an increase from the 31 people who had Secret Service protection in Obama’s administration.
In June, CNN reported that the Secret Service was relaxing its drug policy for potential hires, as Alles laid out a plan to swell the agency’s ranks by more than 3,000 employees in the coming years.
“I think between that and the fact that he has a larger family, that’s just more stress on the organization. We recognize that,” Alles said at the time, and added that he had been allocating resources in accordance.
According to the report, Alles has met with congressional lawmakers to discuss planned legislation to increase the combined salary and overtime cap for agents — from $160,000 per year to $187,000. He told USA Today this would be at least for Trump’s first term.
But he added that even if this were approved, about 130 agents still wouldn’t be able to be paid for hundreds of hours already worked.
Secret Service statement on USA Today report agency is out of $ for Trump protective mission pic.twitter.com/myffT3PW1x
— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) August 21, 2017
However, Alles said in a statement to CNN that the agency has the funding for the rest of the fiscal year.
“The Secret Service has the funding it needs to meet all current mission requirements for the remainder of the fiscal year and compensate employees for overtime within statutory pay caps,” he said in the statement. “The Secret Service estimates that roughly 1,100 employees will work overtime hours in excess of statutory pay caps during calendar year 2017. Our agency experienced a similar situation in calendar year 2016 that resulted in legislation that allowed Secret Service employees to exceed statutory caps on pay.”
The statement continued: “To remedy this ongoing and serious problem, the agency has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the administration, and the Congress over the past several months to find a legislative solution.”
The White House said in a statement that Trump “is committed to ensuring the Secret Service and all of those protecting our country have all the resources they need. We are going to continue to work with Congress on this important issue, which requires their actions.”
In April, CNN reported that Trump’s travel to his private club in Florida has cost more than an estimated $20 million in his first 80 days in office, putting the President on pace to surpass former President Barack Obama’s eight years of spending on travel — in only his first year in office.
Before and during the campaign season, Trump regularly criticized Obama for costing the American taxpayer money every time he took a trip, and Trump the candidate repeatedly called for belt-tightening across government agencies.
In 2014, Trump tweeted: “We pay for Obama’s travel so he can fundraise millions so Democrats can run on lies. Then we pay for his golf.”
Golf, by the way, is also one of Trump’s regular presidential pastimes.