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The Secret Service’s funds to pay agents have been depleted in large part by President Donald Trump’s and his family’s frequent travel and by having more people under agency protection, USA Today reported Monday.
The Secret Service director, Randolph “Tex” Alles, told the publication that more than 1,000 Secret Service agents had hit the mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances. That money was supposed to last the entire year.
The agents must protect Trump everywhere he goes, which has included trips nearly every weekend of his presidency to one of his properties, such as his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and golf clubs in New Jersey and Virginia. The Secret Service has also had to protect his adult children on business trips and vacations across the country and overseas, in addition to securing the family’s many residences along the East Coast.
Each of the president’s seven trips to Mar-a-Lago has cost about $3 million, according to an estimate by the General Accounting Office for similar travel by President Barack Obama. The Secret Service has spent about $60,000 just on golf-cart rentals while at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to the report.
The Trump administration has 42 people under Secret Service protection, up from 31 during Obama’s tenure, USA Today reported.
“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Alles told USA Today. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”
Alles is pushing lawmakers to raise the combined salary and overtime cap for agents by nearly $30,000 for at least the remainder of Trump’s term. Without that approval, he said, he cannot pay agents for past work. But even if that were approved, Alles couldn’t fully compensate roughly 130 agents, USA Today reported.
“I don’t see this changing in the near term,” Alles said.
Alles released a statement Monday morning in response to the USA Today story, saying his agency had “the funding it needs to meet all current mission requirements for the remainder of the fiscal year” and that the issue he outlined to the publication was “not one that can be attributed to the current administration’s protection requirements.”
Secret Service statement on USA Today report agency is out of $ for Trump protective mission pic.twitter.com/myffT3PW1x
— Jordan Fabian (@Jordanfabian) August 21, 2017