(WASHINGTON)— The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), representing the largest number of federal employees, today applauded House members for voting H.R. 1684 out of the Committee on Homeland Security and the leadership of Chairman Bennie F. Thompson (D-Miss.) and the strong support of Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
"On behalf of the Border Patrol Agents, Customs and Border Protection Officers, Transportation Security Officers, Federal Protective Service Officers and others AFGE represents, I want to express our strong support for H.R. 1684 as it was reported out of the Homeland Security Committee today,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “This legislation responds to many of the concerns and priorities AFGE has expressed to the Committee and the Congress over the past several years. Among the achievements of this legislation that we particularly want to cite include:
1. Repeals the remaining elements of the so-called MAXHR program that relate to employee appeal rights and performance management goals; This is particularly significant as the Department of Homeland Security has recently stated its intention to implement both sections of its regulations despite the likely that they will be overturned in federal court;
2. Restores statutory authority for collective bargaining rights because the DHS regulations establishing a new collective bargaining system have been overturned by the courts;
3. Includes CBP Officers under the federal Law Enforcement Retirement System in recognition of their legitimate law enforcement responsibilities; AFGE has led efforts for the past several years to build support in Congress for this important and entirely justifiable measure and we are gratified that those efforts are finally being rewarded;
4. The inclusion of provisions strengthening Border Patrol recruitment and retention which will assure that adequate manpower will be available to patrol the borders and who will remain with the Border Patrol after they have been recruited and trained because their work is recognized and appreciated;
5. Language in the bill designed to prevent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from implementing its plan to eliminate police officers and special agents at the Federal Protective Service;
"AFGE believes that H.R. 1684 will greatly strengthen our nation's overall homeland security by recognizing the contribution of the men and women on the front lines and providing the resources necessary to ensure that they are the best trained, best-equipped border protection force in the world today,” added Gage. “We want to especially thank Chairman Thompson and Reps. Jackson Lee and Norton for their contribution to this excellent piece of legislation."