The Secret Service has recently found itself unable to continue paying its agents who are responsible for protecting President Trump and his family. More than a thousand agents have hit the maximum annual pay ceiling of $161,900. That sum is the maximum amount of pay an agent can receive, including any overtime they may need to perform. After hitting that ceiling, the agents are essentially required to work without any additional pay.
Part of the reason for so many agents hitting the cap is the size of Trump’s family. The Secret Service is protecting 18 members of Trump’s family, including his adult children who reside outside the White House and continue to remain involved in the Trump Organization’s business dealings. Their business trips around the country and overseas require Secret Service details to accompany them, taxing both agents and the agency’s resources.
Donald Trump Jr. has recently declined any further Secret Service protection, citing a desire for privacy, and senior adviser Kellyanne Conway has had her protective detail dropped, both of which should lighten the agency’s burden somewhat. But Congress is still advancing legislation to raise the overtime cap to $187,000 to enable agents to continue getting paid for further overtime assignments they may be required to work.
Being forced to work overtime protective details without being paid for them can’t be good for the morale of the special agents assigned to protect the President and other dignitaries. And with 30% more protectees to protect than during the Obama Administration, the Secret Service will undoubtedly continue to face strains on its resources. That should lead to some tough questions about the Secret Service’s role in the future, and whether it should turn over its law enforcement roles such as investigating counterfeiting to other agencies so that is can focus on its protective responsibilities.