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March 2023


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Budget

House Bill Would Provide Major Pay Increase for TSA Screeners

By Steve Neavling

TSA screeners could receive an average 30% pay increase, along with benefits and due process protections that most other federal employees receive, under a bill passed by the U.S. House last week.

Since the creation of the TSA after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, TSA employees “have been part of a siloed personnel system, where they do not receive regular raises like most other federal workers and lack due process and whistleblower protections,” Government Executive reports.

That would change under the Rights of the TSA Workforce Act, which passed in the House with a 220-201 vote. 

“The most recent analysis done on turnover shows that over a two-year span, one in three transportation security officers quit,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who introduced the bill, said on the House floor. “It also revealed that in a single year, TSA spent $16 million to hire and onboard nearly 2,000 people, who left just months after they got the job. This revolving door of recruiting, training and then losing TSOs is unsustainable and underscores the need to find a permanent solution that will ensure TSA lives up to its critical national security mission.”

A vast majority of Republicans voted against the bill, which now goes to the Senate for a vote. 

Biden’s 2023 Budget Would Give Big Pay Bumps to TSA Employees

By Steve Neavling

Tens of thousands of TSA employees stand to receive a major pay increase under a spending plan proposed by the Biden administration.

The White House is asking for $9.7 billion for TSA, which is a $1.5 billion increase over 2022, Federal News Network reports.

The idea is to bring pay for TSA officers in line with others in the federal workforce. 

Under the plan, TSA security officers would receive an average 30% increase in base pay, and federal air marshals would receive a 20% bump in base pay. 

Other TSA employees would also receive a pay increase “commensurate with their federal colleagues.”

In May 2020, TSA screeners received an average annual salary of $44,920, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

If approved by Congress, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said he’d increase pay within 90 days. 

“One of the long-standing challenges at TSA has been the pay gap between TSA’s frontline workforce and their counterparts in the rest of the federal government,” Pekoske said in a statement. “Equitable compensation and sufficient pay progression support TSA’s ability to meet mission requirements in the recruitment and retention of employees and positively impacts employee morale.”

Biden Administration Proposes New FBI Headquarters in Suburbs

By Steve Neavling

The Biden administration has revived long-stalled plans to build a new FBI headquarters in suburban Maryland or Virginia. 

In its 2023 budget request released Monday, the White House said the administration “recognizes the critical need for a new FBI headquarters” and that the current J. Edgar Hoover building “can no longer support the long-term mission of the FBI.”

“The Administration has begun a multi-year process of constructing a modern, secure suburban facility from which the FBI can continue its mission to protect the American people,” the administration wrote. “During the next year, FBI and GSA will work to identify a location to construct a Federally- owned, modern and secure facility for at least 7,500 personnel in the suburbs.”

The FBI has been searching for a new headquarters for years, but funding problems and the Trump administration delayed the project. Trump had called for the headquarters, which is a stone’s throw from his Washington D.C. hotel, to be built downtown, rather than in the suburbs. 

The current headquarters is cramped and outdated, the FBI says. 

$100M added to Congress’ Spending Plan to Fully Fund Border Patrol with New Employees, Perks

By Steve Neavling

The federal government’ $1.5 trillion spending bill includes $100 million to hire 800 new Border Patrol personnel, along with perks for CBP employees, according to Border Report.

Passed by Congress, the bill would enable CBP to be fully funded with 19,555 Border Patrol agents, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar said. 

The funding includes perks for the heavily demoralized agency, including $5 million for tuition assistance, $23 million for onsite mental heath assistance, $6 million for caregivers and childcare services, and $20 million for improvements for border processing facilities. 

“We’re trying to provide Border Patrol not only the moral support but the actual funding to hire more people,” Cuellar said.

The funding comes at a time when CBP is dealing with record migrant apprehensions and encounters. 

Biden Wants Funding Increase to Investigate White Supremacy within CBP, ICE

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

President Biden’s budget proposal seeks to increase oversight of Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate complaints of white supremacy. 

Under the proposal, workforce oversight offices within CBP and ICE would receive $470 million, a 22% increase in funding, Reuters reports.

The idea is to ensure timely investigations of workforce complaints, including “those related to white supremacy or ideological and non-ideological beliefs.”

The impetus for the increased oversight wasn’t immediately clear, but the Biden administration has prioritized combating domestic extremism, which a Homeland Security report in 2020 described as “the most persistent and lethal threat” to the U.S. 

Trump’s Administration Imposes Temporary Ban on TSA Hiring and OT After Budget Cuts

By Steve Neavling

President Trump’s administration has imposed a temporary ban on hiring at the TSA for the second time in recent months.

The moratorium on TSA hires is expected to be lifted in late April in time for the busy travel season this summer, KUER Radio in Utah reports.

The administration also placed a temporary hold on overtime.

“In anticipation of another record-breaking summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration is managing resources by prioritizing overtime to the busiest of travel periods,” the TSA said in a statement. “Additionally, TSA will continue to assess applicants for entry into TSA, and will conduct two extended hiring windows to coincide with the busy summer travel season.”

The Trump administration reduced the agency’s $8.2 billion budget by $10.5 million in 2021.

Hydrick Thomas, who heads the union that represents TSA employees, said the hiring and overtime freeze is going to cause a headache.

“You always have overtime — no matter how much staff you hire. This agency has large turnover every month,” he said. “What are you going to do when you have no staff to process passengers?”

Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Use Pentagon Funds for Border Wall Construction

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling

The Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s administration can use billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to help build a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The five-to-four ruling gives the administration permission to begin using $2.5 billion in Defense Department money to move ahead with wall construction. Lower courts delayed the project pending a Supreme Court decision.

Another $3.6 billion comes from military construction funds.

“Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall,” Trump tweeted. “The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

How Democrats Plan to Protect the Robert Mueller Investigation

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

Congressional Democrats’ latest hopes of protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation hinges on a high-priority spending bill.

Democrats said they plan to tie the protection measure to the spending bill, a move that could cause spark a high-stakes clash with Republicans and President Trump.

Democrats also plan to revive the congressional investigations into Russian interference during the presidential election in 2016, the USA Today reports

On another front, Democrats continue to call for the resignation of Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist whom the president appointed to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.