The FBI agents' union is out today with a new letter calling on Congress to send a financing bill to…
The FBI agents’ union is out today with a new letter calling on Congress to send a financing bill to resume the Ministry of Justice so that its members can get paid.
They do not weigh on the larger border security debate between the White House and the Congress Democrats (unlike the Border Patrol Union). Instead, they come in line with the views of democratic leaders (and some Republican senators): The important thing is to resume government – “the important work that the Bureau needs to be financed immediately”, they write – and allow all negotiations on other issues continue on a separate track .
FBI specialists, like other federal law enforcement personnel, are considered “necessary” and continue to work without pay during governmental suspension. On Friday, January 1
1, they will officially miss their paychecks for the first time, so it has become an urgent matter.
These agents would rather be paid and not get paid is quite obvious. But the letter raises two more problems. One is that if the agents’ families end up in credit problems due to lack of salary, it can undermine their security clearance. The second is that ongoing FBI operations have financial costs in addition to the salaries of the agents and that the cash will expire.
See the full letter below:
We, the undersigned, are proud FBI Special Agents. Today we write as our volunteer leader and chapter representative for the FBI Agents Association (“FBIAA”), a professional organization that represents almost all active specialist departments. The FBIAA members chose us, and we represent all FBI field offices. We are the only dedicated voice for the nearly 13,000 active FBI Special Agents, most of whom are members of the FBIAA.
On Friday, January 11, 2019, FBI agents will not pay due to the partial government closure, but we will continue our work to protect our nation. We urge our elected representatives to fund the Ministry of Justice (“DOJ”) and the FBI, as 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 agents are financially stable and accountable. Missing payments on debts can cause delays in securing or renewing security deviations and may even disqualify agents from continuing to function in some cases.
2nd The FBI’s operations require funding. As the shutdown continues, Special Agents continue to work for the American people without being paid, and the FBI management does all it can to fund increasingly limited resources FBI operations. This situation is not sustainable. The important work done by the Bureau must be financed immediately.
3rd Payment uncertainty undermines the FBI’s ability to recruit and maintain highly-calibrated professionals. Specialist agents are skilled professionals who have different employment options in the private sector. The ongoing financial uncertainty caused by funding the FBI could not allow any FBI agents to consider career opportunities that provide more stability to their families.
The FBI’s men and women proudly serve this nation and are honored to protect our country and constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic. We are convinced that our leaders share this commitment to protect our country and will find a way forward to fund the DOJ and FBI. As those on the front line in the fight against criminals and terrorists, we urge appropriateness before financial uncertainty compromises national security.
Of course, Trump has spread the border patrol union support not only for its wall initiative but for the specific suspension as a tactic. But border patrol is not the only law enforcement agency that works without wages, and law enforcement is generally an important constituency of Trump. So open conflicts with the direct, material interests of rank-and-file agents are a risky scenario for Trump.