“Canine Care” Provision
October 2, 2018
As Border Patrol agent canine handlers are aware, the canine care provision was removed from the legislation that was passed in the House of Representatives last week (The Border Patrol Agent Pay Reform Amendment Act of 2018). This was done after much debate and push back from the NBPC. The canine care provision was the only section in the legislation that would score (which means it would cost money that Congress would need to appropriate); however, we believed that to be a minimal cost.
In December of 2017, NBPC National President Brandon Judd and NBPC Vice President Christopher Kraus (canine handler) met with then Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan about the canine care provision. Acting Commissioner McAleenan agreed that the canine care provision would improve the program and because he agreed that it would be at minimal cost, he committed to working with Congress to ensure the provision passed. Unfortunately, when push came to shove, Commissioner McAleenan caved for the good of his own career.
It appears the numbers provided by CBP to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) were overinflated. The NBPC pushed back on these numbers, but the CBO can only work with what the agency provides and therefore, the $100 million dollars over a 10-year scoring period caused the House to remove the provision because there was no “pay for.” To complicate matters further, the CBO also took longer than expected to give their score of the provision, releasing it just prior to the House of Representatives getting ready to go on recess.
With midterm elections coming up and changes that could happen in the House and Senate, legislators dropped that portion of the bill in order to go forward with the current bill that passed, with the intention of addressing the canine care provision at a later time.
WHAT IS NEXT?
The NBPC is committed to fixing the canine care provision and will be actively working with the next Congress to get this done. We will be monitoring different upcoming legislation in which the provision can be reinstated with accurate numbers in order to get it passed into law.