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Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. I would like to again say thank you to Chairman Souder for agreeing to hold this joint hearing, and I would like to recognize Chairman Souder for an opening statement.

Mr. SOUDER. Thank you, Chairman Davis.

Today's hearing addresses one of the most significant issues facing the Federal Government: how to bring the law enforcement pay system into balance. Resolving this problem is not simply a matter of ensuring fairness to the thousands of Federal law enforcement agents who labor to protect us everyday is absolutely imperative to our national security. I therefore commend the distinguished chairwoman of the Civil Service and Agency Organization Subcommittee, Mrs. Jo Ann Davis, for joining me in convening this hearing.

I want to add a personal note that last year and the year before, particularly last year, we tried to work with Chairman Wolf on the Commerce, State and Justice appropriations bill to address this matter and worked closely with Chairman Weldon to try to get a waiver. We decided to forego this process and focus on it. And when Congresswoman Davis took over the subcommittee she has been focused in trying to address the question. We saw this particularly under on-border patrol where we were losing agents faster than we could add them. When Congress was mandating that we add border control, here we were losing more than we could add because of some of these inequities, which is what Chairman Wolf focused on, this committee focused on and the gentleman before us focused on this issue.

I don't think I exaggerate when I say the present-day law enforcement pay system is a hopelessly confusing labyrinth of outdated and often irrational rules and regulations. Indeed, it is probably misleading to call it a system. It is really just the result of decades of haphazard and uncoordinated rulemaking. The rapid growth of the Federal law enforcement work force over the second half of the 20th century was not matched by a careful development and reformulation of civil service pay scales and rules. Instead, both Congress and the executive branch applied old rules or drafted new ones on an ad hoc basis to deal with new or expanded law enforcement agencies.

This became abundantly clear to my subcommittee, the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, during the last Congress when we held a series of hearings on Federal law enforcement and border security. Our study revealed these three key issues that must be addressed:

First, we must come up with a principled set of rules for disparities in retirement pay. At present, the so-called law enforcement retirement pay system created decades ago applies to some law enforcement officials but not to others, often with little or no justification. Fairness to our law enforcement agents demands that the Congress and the administration develop a rational, uniform retirement pay system.

Second, it is clear that the locality pay adjustment system, which was intended to ensure that agents living in areas with high costs of living be sufficiently compensated, must be updated. At present, the system simply fails to take into account the rapid rise in housing and related costs in many key areas. For example, the cost of living in California, our most populous State, is driving many

agents either to seek a transfer to another location or to leave Federal employment altogether. Many of the places which most need Federal law enforcement protection-major population centers, busy port cities and border regions—are often the most expensive to live. The Federal Government must find a way to ensure that local costs do not leave vital areas unprotected.

Finally, we must ensure that individual Federal agencies, in their eagerness_to hire and expand their ranks, do not simply poach on other Federal and even State and local law enforcement agencies. As we saw in the months after September 11, 2001, the Federal sky marshals program expanded quite rapidly but at the expense of the Border Patrol, the Customs Service and numerous other agencies. The higher pay and benefits offered by the sky marshals program simply could not be matched by these other agencies, leaving many of them seriously depleted at a time when they and the American people they protect could least afford it. Congress and the administration must ensure that we don't end up playing another game of agency musical chairs. Rather, we must seek ways to expand the entire pool of law enforcement agents.

This hearing will allow us to address these and other related issues, and I again thank Chairwoman Davis for her leadership for convening it. I commend the various Members of the House and Senate here to testify today, all of whom have introduced legislation that could help resolve some of these problems. I further thank the members of the executive branch and the organizations representing our Federal law enforcement agents for taking the time to join us, and I look forward to your testimony.

Mrs. DAVIS OF VIRGINIA. Thank you, Chairman Souder.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Mark E. Souder follows:]

Opening Statement

Chairman Mark Souder Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy,

and Human Resources

Joint Hearing with the Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency Reorganization, Committee on

Government Reform

"Federal Law Enforcement Personnel In The Post 9/11 Era: How Can We Fix An Imbalanced

Compensation System?”

July 23, 2003

Good morning. Today's hearing addresses one of the most significant issues facing the federal government today: how to bring the law enforcement pay system into balance. Resolving this problem is not simply a matter of ensuring fairness to the thousands of federal law enforcement agents who labor to protect us every day; it is absolutely imperative to our national security. I theretore commend the distinguished Chairwoman of the Civil Service and Agency Reorganization Subcommittee, Mrs. Jo Ann Davis, for joining me in convening this hearing.

I don't think I exaggerate when I say that the present-day law enforcement pay system is a hopelessly confusing labyrinth of outdated and often irrational rules and regulations. Indeed, it is probably misleading to call it a "system"; it is really just the result of decades of haphazard and uncoordinated rulemaking. The rapid growth of the federal law enforcement workforce over the second half of the twentieth century was not matched by a careful development and reformulation of civil service pay scales and rules; instead, both Congress and the executive branch applied old rules or drafted new

ones on an ad hoc basis to deal with new or expanded law enforcement agencies.

This became abundantly clear to my Subcommittee, the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, during the last Congress when we held a series of hearings on federal law enforcement and border security. Our study revealed three key issues that must be addressed. First, we must come up with a principled set of rules for disparities in retirement pay. At present, the so-called "law enforcement” retirement pay system created decades ago applies to some law enforcement officials, but not to others - often with little or no justification. Fairness to our law enforcement agents demands that Congress and the Administration develop a rational, uniform retirement pay system.

Second, it is clear that the locality pay adjustment system, which is intended to ensure that agents living in areas with high costs of living be sufficiently compensated, must be updated. At present, the system simply fails to take into account the rapid rise in housing and related costs in many key areas. For example, the cost of living in California - our most populous state - is driving many agents either to seek a transfer to another location, or to leave federal

a employment altogether. Many of the places which most need federal law enforcement protection - major populations centers, busy port cities, and border regions - are also the most expensive to live. The federal yuverninent musi iind a way io ensure inai iucai cosis do not leave vital areas unprotected.

Finally, we must ensure that individual federal agencies, in their eagerness to hire and expand their ranks, do not simply poach on other federal or even state and local law enforcement agencies. As we all saw in the months after September 11, 2001, the federal “sky marshals" program expanded quite rapidly, but at the expense of the Border Patrol, the Customs Service, and numerous other agencies. The higher pay and benefits offered by the sky marshals program

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* The Subcommittee's report, Federal Law Enforcement at the Borders and Ports of Entry: Challenges and Solutions (H. Rort. No. 107-794), can be found on the Government Printing Office's website, at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgibin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_reports&docid=f:hr794.pdf.

simply could not be matched by these other agencies, leaving many of them seriously depleted at a time when they, and the American people they protect, could least afford it. Congress and the Administration must ensure that we don't end up playing another game of agency “musical chairs”; rather, we must seek ways to expand the entire pool of law enforcement agents.

This hearing will allow us to address these and other related issues, and I again thank Chairwoman Davis for her leadership in convening it. I commend the various Members of the House and the Senate here to testify today, all of whom have introduced legislation that could help resolve some of these problems. I further thank the members of the executive branch and the organizations representing our federal law enforcement agents for taking the time to join us, and I look forward to your testimony.

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