Washington, Aug 22 (IANS) The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of its agents to protect US President Donald Trump and his large family, according to a top official.
Secret Service Director Randolph Alles, told the USA Today in an interview on Monday that more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.
The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration.
Agents have to protect Trump, who has travelled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia, and his children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas.
“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.”
He said the service is grappling with an unprecedented number of White House protectees.
Under Trump, 42 people have protection, a number that includes 18 members of his family. During the Obama administration, only 31 people were under protection.
The compensation crunch is so serious that the Director has begun discussions with key lawmakers to raise the combined salary and overtime cap for agents, from $160,000 per year to $187,000 for at least the duration of Trump’s first term.
But even if such a proposal was approved, about 130 veteran agents would not be fully compensated for hundreds of hours already amassed, according to the agency.
“I don’t see this changing in the near term,” Alles said.