Congress Approves 2013 Reprogramming Request;
Need for Furloughs Eliminated
Congress has approved a reprogramming request from DHS that has eliminated the need for employee furloughs this fiscal year. This is not only welcome news for CBP employees, but for the agency and the American public. Furloughs at ports of entry already plagued by staffing shortages would have seriously compromised CBP's critical missions of securing the nation's borders and facilitating trade.
Beginning last year when sequestration was first proposed, NTEU has been at the forefront fiercely opposing this unwise policy. Now that the sequester is in effect, NTEU is working aggressively to end it and also mitigate its impact on federal employees. At CBP, NTEU worked closely with management to eliminate furloughs and advance the reprogramming request. On Capitol Hill, NTEU was a strong supporter of the plan and pressed for its quick approval.
While congressional approval of the reprogramming request is a very positive development, it is only a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Sequestration is causing deep cuts to agency resources and will still necessitate a hiring freeze for non-frontline personnel, limited reductions in overtime and other cutbacks. Unless it is stopped, the sequester is slated to last nine more years and the reprogramming is only for this fiscal year. This means the possibility of employee furloughs and other harmful budget shortages will return next fiscal year unless Congress takes action to end the sequester.
In the weeks ahead and as Congress continues its appropriations work, NTEU will continue to fight the sequester and advocate for adequate CBP funding.
NTEU Applauds Appropriations
Committee Action on CBP Staffing Needs
NTEU applauded action by a key House committee to approve an increase in funding that would permit CBP to hire some 1,600 new CBP Officers (CBPOs) as requested, in part, in the White House fiscal 2014 budget.
“This move by the House Appropriations Committee is welcome recognition of the reality that CBP staffing has been and remains inadequate for its critical homeland security mission,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “NTEU will work to see this funding decision implemented” so that CBP is adequately staffed at the nation’s 331 land, air and sea ports of entry.
The action came as the House body approved a reduced fiscal 2014 DHS funding bill.
In addition to the increased funding for 1,600 additional CBP Officers, the White House budget released earlier this spring proposed another 1,877 CBPOs to be paid for by an increase in customs and immigration user fees that have not been increased since 2001. More
NTEU Supports Proposal
Leading to Additional CBP Staffing
NTEU expressed to a key House subcommittee strong support for the administration’s proposed fiscal 2014 budget for CBP.
The budget proposal would provide funds for another 3,477 CBP Officers at the nation’s 331 ports of entry, NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley told the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee in submitted testimony.
The White House proposal includes an increase in funding of $210.1 million that would cover the costs of an additional 1,600 frontline CBP Officers. The additional 1,877 CBP Officers would be paid for by an increase in customs and immigration user fees that have not been increased since 2001.
Collectively, the additional personnel would result in a substantial boost to the economy, Kelley said, noting that CBP has the dual missions of helping protect borders as well as facilitate critically important trade. Citing a University of Southern California study released earlier this month, Kelley said that for every 1,000 CBP Officers added, the U.S. can increase its gross domestic product by $2 billion. More