By Debbie Gregory.
Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, the head of the U.S. Secret Service, says that while some 1,100 of its agents have already maxed out on their allowable earnings for 2017, the agency is not broke.
According to a statement by Alles, the Secret Service has the funding it needs to meet all current mission requirements for the remainder of the fiscal year, as well as compensating employees for overtime within statutory pay caps.
The drain of resources can be partially attributed to President Donald Trump’s frequent stays at his own resorts, and his extended family’s vacation and business trips.
Between 2011 and 2015, staffing levels at the Secret Service fell by 10%, according to a House Oversight Committee. Last year, the number of agents decreased again by 8% while the burden of protection greatly increased, what with a presidential election campaign, Pope Francis’s visit, and a United Nations General Assembly meeting.
In 2016, Congress passed emergency legislation to retroactively increase the pay cap. The Secret Service appears to be pursuing a similar legislative fix in 2017, while it attempts to hire more agents and more widely distribute its workload.
Trump travel has included trips to his Florida resort home, Mar-a-Lago, his New Jersey golf resort, and Trump Tower in New York. These properties now require a semi-permanent Secret Service infrastructure
The Secret Service’s demands will continue to be higher than ever throughout the Trump administration. Trump’s family and inner circle, which numbers some 42 people, is an increase of 35% over President Obama’s administration.
All five of the Trump children get 24/7 protection from the Secret Service, and the older children (along with their spouses/significant other) are frequent travelers, both domestically and abroad, for business and pleasure.