FBI Agents Association Reacts to Federal Government Shutdown

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The Government Shutdown’s Negative Impact on Special Agent Pay and its Implications for National Security
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
FBI Agents Association Statement on Government Shutdown and Special Agent Pay

Washington, DC: FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) President Tom O’Connor issued the following statement:

“As the country celebrates the New Year, the American public can be assured that the FBIAA’s membership—which includes nearly 13,000 Special Agents of the FBI are on the job 24‐hours a day, seven days a week to protect our country from criminal and terrorist threats. These men and women are doing so while facing a confluence of policies and gridlock that are causing financial hardship for Agents and their families.

FBIAA members and others are currently working without pay or paid leave because of a fourth government shutdown in five years. The FBIAA calls on elected officials to work together to end the shutdown and restore Agents’ pay.

Additionally, FBIAA urges Congress and the White House to provide fair wages and tax treatment to Special Agents.

Due to years of pay freezes, federal employee pay lags significantly behind the private sector, and this disparity makes it more difficult to recruit skilled professionals to government service. At a minimum, the 1.9% pay increase for federal employees that the Senate passed with over 90 votes should become law and applied retroactively to 2019 wages when the shutdown ends.

Special Agents can be transferred to different offices around the country and the world to meet the needs of the FBI. The 2017 tax law eliminated the moving expense deduction, which offset the relocation expense burden for Special Agents and their families. As a result, moving reimbursements are now considered taxable income. FBIAA urges Congress to enact legislation to provide tax relief to Special Agents similar to the bipartisan Relocation Expense Parity Act that was introduced during the last Congress.

FBIAA members will continue to protect the American public and defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Elected officials should end the uncertainty that the shutdown is causing Agents and their families and find a way to fairly compensate these brave men and women.”

Further, on January 10th, FBIAA created a Petition Urging the President and Congressional Leaders to Fund The Department of Justice and FBI:

Washington, DC: The FBI Agents Association today sent a petition to the White House and Congressional Leaders signed by representatives of all FBI Agent Association field offices across the country warning of the effect of the continued government shutdown on Agents and their work.  The petition urges leaders in Washington, DC to immediately fund the FBI.  The text of the petition follows:

“We, the undersigned, are proud FBI Special Agents. Today, we write in our capacity as the volunteer leadership and chapter representatives of the FBI Agents Association (“FBIAA”), a professional organization representing nearly all active duty Special Agents.  FBIAA members elected us, and we represent all 56 FBI field offices.  We are the only dedicated voice for the nearly 13,000 active FBI Special Agents, the vast majority of whom are members of the FBIAA.

On Friday, January 11, 2019, FBI Agents will not be paid due to the partial government shutdown, but we will continue our work protecting our nation.  We urge our elected representatives to fund the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the FBI because financial security is a matter of national security:

1.  FBI Special Agents are subject to high security standards that include rigorous and routine financial background checks to ensure that Agents are financially stable and responsible. Missing payments on debts could create delays in securing or renewing security clearances, and could even disqualify Agents from continuing to serve in some cases.

2.  The operations of the FBI require funding.  As the shutdown continues, Special Agents remain at work for the American people without being paid, and FBI leadership is doing all it can to fund FBI operations with increasingly limited resources—this situation is not sustainable. The important work done by the Bureau needs to be funded immediately.

3.  Pay uncertainty undermines the FBI’s ability to recruit and retain high-caliber professionals.  Special Agents are skilled professionals who have a variety of employment options in the private sector. The ongoing financial insecurity caused by the failure to fund the FBI could lead some FBI Agents to consider career options that provide more stability for their families.

The men and women of the FBI proudly serve this nation and are honored to protect our country and Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic. We are confident that our leaders share this commitment to protecting our country and will find a path forward to fund the DOJ and the FBI.  As those on the frontlines in the fight against criminals and terrorists, we urge expediency before financial insecurity compromises national security.”

The full petition can be found here.